D’Angelo Russell Comments on Lakers’ Playoff Chances, Rookie of the Year Hopes

September 10th, 2015 by Adam Wells Leave a reply »
D'Angelo Russell is the most important player on the Los Angeles Lakers roster heading into his rookie season. That's a lot of pressure to put on a 19-year-old who has never played in an official NBA game, but the No. 2 pick in June's draft won't be intimidated by it.  

In an interview with Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsiders.com, Russell said his expectation is to be the NBA's best rookie in 2015-16: “I have been grinding all summer to put myself in that position."

The pressure on Russell is already high because the Lakers are very much in a transition period. Kobe Bryant is in the final year of his contract, and general manager Mitch Kupchak has said the former MVP could retire after the season. 

Going with a young nucleus around Bryant, which includes Russell and Julius Randle, could make this another difficult season for the Lakers in a loaded Western Conference. 

However, Russell isn't shying away from putting expectations on himself or the team heading into the season, per Kennedy: “Expectations are high, but this Lakers squad will most definitely be a playoff team."

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