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Mitch Kupchak is happy with D'Angelo Russell's progress

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The general manager still thinks the team made the correct choice in the 2015 NBA draft.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

One of the central early season themes of the Los Angeles Lakers' 2015-16 campaign was the struggles of D'Angelo Russell. The player the Lakers selected second overall in the 2015 NBA draft struggled with ankle issues and turnovers during Las Vegas Summer League, and did not come roaring out the the gate in the regular season like many fans hoped he would. Russell's averages of 9.2 points, 4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.6 turnovers while shooting 39.4% from the field in his first 10 games as a professional led to some early talk of whether or not the Lakers made the right choice with their highest draft pick since 1984.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was not among the concerned. "It looks like D'Angelo is getting better on a good pace right now," Kupchak told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. "It could stop or it could continue. You don't know. We may know a lot about him by the end of the year."

It makes sense that Kupchak is preaching patience with a 19-year old learning the most demanding position in basketball on the fly, and he is also right that Russell has improved since the early season. Russell has begun to find his range, shooting 37% on three-pointers and 43.9% overall over the Lakers' last five games, incremental increases in his efficiency that are nonetheless encouraging progress. "We're very happy," Kucphak told Medina. "He's going to be a really good player."

Medina's whole column is worth a read, as it includes details on Russell and Okafor's pre-draft workouts with the Lakers and Russell's pregame routine. You can find it here.