The NBA Draft combine is underway in Chicago, and while many of the top prospects won't be participating in any of the drills, some are still in attendance for the medical evaluation portion of the event. D'Angelo Russell stopped by the NBA TV booth to talk with the crew a bit and gave some insight about his game.
"I studied Manu Ginobili," Russell told NBA TV when asked which players he's tried to pattern his game around. "Not a lot of guys really valued his play. Growing up that was a guy that I really focused on." It's easy to see the comparison. Neither player is super-athletic, but both are left-handed playmakers with slithery moves to catch defenses off balance. Russell is a few inches shorter than Ginobili, but his impressive 6'9 wingspan makes up for it. His shooting ability is what can set him apart, though.
That's a great comparison to consider for Los Angeles Lakers fans, especially after Russell went on to say he sees himself as a combo guard. "I've been playing that combo role my whole life," D'Angelo reflected. That's a bonus to his draft value as the roster is currently constructed. Russell and Jordan Clarkson can play together because of D'Angelo's versatility, and he could also log consistent minutes next to Kobe Bryant.
Russell won't be participating in the five-on-five drills and other physical aspects of the combine, but he'll undoubtedly be a part of numerous private workouts for teams at the top of the draft once the order is set. Expect more on D'Angelo once individual meetings begin later in the month.
*Quotes courtesy of the NBA's live stream of the combine