Even before he entered the league, D’Angelo Russell’s confidence was obvious to anyone paying attention. He compared his game to Stephen Curry’s during the pre-draft process, and from telling people they hadn’t “seen nothing yet” after one of his first big scoring games to declaring there was ice in his veins after clutch shots, it’s clear Russell is a big fan of his own work.
Jordan Clarkson’s confidence is no less real, even if it is of the quieter variety. That’s why it was a little less surprising than many would think when both young Lakers picked themselves as the best player in the league in a survey they completed for GQ.
No, Russell and Clarkson are not the best players in the league, but the type of confidence that allows them to declare as much is why both have far exceeded expectations to get to this point.
Russell was not a highly touted prospect coming out of high school, and only became the second overall pick based on a breakout campaign at Ohio State. Clarkson was even less heralded heading into the league, falling all the way to the 46th overall pick in the 2014 draft before surpassing expectations with the Lakers. Neither of them would be where they are without supreme confidence, so it’s hard to fault either for being competitive enough to not want to name another player as better than them.
Either that, or the Lakers have a problem on their hands because Russell and Clarkson both think the Lakers are their team/are the new Kobe and Shaq. It’s probably the confidence stuff, because Clarkson sounds like he’s pretty high on Russell:
Watch out for [BLANK] this year, that guy (who is NOT a teammate) is gonna blow up:
and the feeling is mutual for D’Angelo:
Watch out for [BLANK] this year, that guy (who is NOT a teammate) is gonna blow up
Clarkson and Russell’s belief in themselves/each other isn’t the only fun takeaway in the GQ Q&A. A few more fun answers:
Russell, on the hardest guy in the league for him to guard:
Julius Randle also ignoring the rules of the question:
Before I retire the one thing I want to accomplish (besides titles) is...
Randle: Win 7 rings
From the players trying to draw themselves, to Brandon Ingram picking himself as the player most likely to break out this season and “the swaggiest guy in the league,” the whole thing is worth a read and you can do so here.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.