Heading into the 2016-17 season, no sophomore player is probably happier to wave goodbye to last season than D’Angelo Russell.
It would be an understatement to say that the first year point guard had a rough go of things on the court. Byron Scott was very hard on the 20-year-old player and harped on perceived immaturity from the second-overall pick.
Other challenges included finding his way during the Kobe Bryant farewell tour and off the court troubles with Nick Young after an incriminating video of Swaggy P from Russell’s phone made its way onto the internet.
But, with the Black Mamba retired and a new coach in Luke Walton, now it is time for the Louisville native to win the Lakers’ fans over with his play on the court. He played well in summer league including a game winning jumper against the Philadelphia 76ers.
When speaking with SLAM Magazine, the former Buckeye spoke about the process of reflecting on last year and getting ready for the upcoming challenges for his young teammates.
He explained: “I mean, I went through a lot last year, so I would just say I feel mentally strong that whatever happens from this point on can’t break me, you know? So it’s like whatever God throws my way, it’s not going to break me. I’m prepared for it.”
To say that the former McDonalds All-American has been through the ringer since stepping into the NBA would be putting it lightly. He seems to get that he has made some mistakes but, he isn’t letting that deter him as he enters his second year in Los Angeles.
He also wants his new running mate, Brandon Ingram, to handle the pressure of being a top three pick better than he did. Luckily for Ingram, he will have the experience of having Russell in the room and a better situation to start with.
It really is the dawning of a new day for the LakeShow.