D'Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers impressed everyone with his performance during the Summer League. It seems the point guard is looking to become the new Kobe Bryant of the team.
After Bryant announced his retirement, the Lakers immediately felt that it lost a great player. But, during this month's Summer League in Las Vegas, Russell showed everyone that he has what it takes to rise to Bryant's level.
During the event, Russell scored 21.8 points per game and increased his shooting percentage to 47.7 percent. However, despite his performance, he did not make it to the first or second Summer League teams.
Still, the dedication he displayed was enough to command new-found respect from his the other players and the Lakers' new coach Luke Walton.
"He's been absolutely phenomenal for us," Walton said according to Lakers Nation. "He's been a leader, he's been talking in practice and trying to constantly pick the coaches' brains about what we see."
"He's in the gym every morning before we even got to Summer League working out, then coming back at night and working out," he added. "His work ethic and his desire to play the way we want him to play, and his competitive nature have been incredible in the short amount of time that me and my staff have been down here."
Emerging like a brand new player, Russell has certainly improved a lot in terms of managing his role in the team. With Bryant now retired, it seems the 20-year-old star is showing everyone that he's ready to step up his game and fill the legend's shoes.
But, this doesn't mean that Russell will be carrying the team by himself. Another superstar-in-the-making that emerged at the Team USA training camp was Brandon Ingram, the Lakers' No. 2 from the recent draft.
According to HoF Mag, both Ingram and Russell showed of their potential and shared a glimpse of what Lakers fans can expect to see once the 2016-2017 NBA season begins. Given the LA franchise's current lineup of young athletes and with Russell at the helm, the Lakers are surely the team to look out for next season.