Luke Walton reveals what he expects from D'Angelo Russell and other young stars next term

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Football News

Luke Walton has returned to the Staples Center as a head coach with plenty of promise after winning two titles with the LA Lakers as a player.

However, plenty has changed since he won those rings alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

The Black Mamba has retired and the Lakers have put together terrible campaigns over the past three seasons, culminating in a franchise-worst record of 17-65 last term.

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However, Walton has also built his name as part of the fabled Golden State Warriors staff that has overseen the growth of one of the best teams of their generation.

Now, the coach of the Purple and Gold, Walton believes sophomore D'Angelo Russell is ready to step up and lead the team.

"He’s ready to take the steps forward in this league toward becoming a leader, becoming a top point guard and competing every single night," Walton said.

"There’s a lot of growth to be had still. But he showed me he wants three things. He wants to be great. He wants to win. And he wants to lead. That’s what I want out of a point guard."

However, young players like Russell and this year's number two overall draft pick, Brandon Ingram, won't just play for the sake of developing young players, Walton wants to put his best team out at all times.

"You develop the young core by rewarding them when they play well," Walton insisted. "If there’s 10 games left in the season and out of the playoffs and there’s some vets that played long minutes all season, maybe you play all your young guys to finish out the season.

"But when you’re going through the season, you’re not doing anyone any favors just by playing young guys so they can play if they’re not out there playing the right way."

Shaquille O'Neal
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Luol Deng
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
D'Angelo Russell
Kobe Bryant

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