The Los Angeles Lakers’ young core are rapidly picking up fans left and right during their time with Team USA. Kevin Durant compared watching Brandon Ingram to looking in a mirror, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski predicted he’ll be a great NBA player.
Ingram isn’t the only one who the coaches love so far. Team USA’s next head coach, Gregg Popovich, sounded pretty enamored with Julius Randle on the team’s third day of workouts.
“I didn’t know him at all until he got here, and what I’ve found out is he’s got a great sense of humor, first of all,” Popovich told Lakers TV. “He’s a fun guy to joke with and he’ll joke back, and he’s worked very hard. He’s very coachable, he listens, he takes direction. He’s been very enjoyable so far.”
However, it sounds like Randle knows that just because he’s impressed the San Antonio Spurs head coach doesn’t mean he can expect Popovich to go easy on him once the regular season gets underway:
.@J30_RANDLE has often asked Pop questions: "I’m not going to be able to do it during the season. That’s when he’s going to try to kill me"— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) July 20, 2016
Popovich has also gotten to check out D’Angelo Russell’s scoring exploits over the past three days, and was impressed with him as well:
Pop on D’Angelo: “Very skilled...he’s smart on the court. Knows what the situation is & knows how to take advantage of certain matchups.”— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 20, 2016
On D'Angelo Russell, Coach Popovich said he's a lot more crafty than he knew & been great to coach.— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 20, 2016
Those two players gave Lakers fans a sneak-peek at what they’ve done to catch Popovich’s eye when they ended the first scrimmage of the day with a three:
When you win a game, that means the other team has to do push-ups:
That's a W for D-Lo, Julius and the Blue squad. pic.twitter.com/6xIxQ5Ll8I— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 20, 2016
In addition to setting up Russell for jumpers, Randle also sunk a few of his own with a stroke that’s looking pretty good:
He’s also still able to take it to the hole and finish:
Brandon Ingram was also still around, and after impressing Durant yesterday, his reward was guarding Carmelo Anthony:
The young Lakers are getting plenty of great experience with Team USA, experience that could help them reach their prodigious potential.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.