The annual NBA general manager survey is out, and while the Los Angeles Lakers don’t appear in very many categories, the young core received a little bit of love from around the league. Most notable is D’Angelo Russell ranking fourth in the “Most likely to have a breakout season” category.
Russell garnered 6.9 percent of the vote, tied with Andrew Wiggins. Devin Booker ran away with the category, locking up 31 percent of the vote while he leads the NBA in preseason scoring. Karl-Anthony Towns and Myles Turner round out the top-three breakout vote-getters.
D’Angelo’s looked comfortable through preseason taking on an increased role with Kobe Bryant out and head coach Luke Walton in. His shooting stroke looks a click or two more locked in, his confidence seems through the roof and projecting him to have a big year makes sense. Russell looks set to lead the Lakers in scoring in his sophomore year and is striking from just about everywhere. Here’s a look at this shot chart through six preseason games:
Brandon Ingram also found his way onto the survey, but even an injury to Ben Simmons hasn’t vaulted him into the lead for rookie of the year. Ingram’s still behind Simmons in the category, in fact, tying at fourth-overall with “rookie” Joel Embiid. Kris Dunn led the field with 46.7 percent of the vote, followed by Buddy Hield (13.3%) and Ben Simmons (13.3%).
Another “rookie” landed on the survey as well. Rookie head coach Luke Walton took fourth in “Which new (or relocated) coach will make the biggest impact this season,” taking 3.3 percent of the vote behind Tom Thibodeau (78.3%), Frank Vogel (10%) and Mike D’Antoni (8.3%).
Overall it wasn’t a very favorable survey for the Lakers, but that should be expected as they try to stabilize in a post Kobe-Scott world. It’s encouraging that Russell, Ingram and Walton are at least in the mix in areas they should be.