D’Angelo Russell is in for a breakout year. That’s been the narrative, at least, with a collection of his teammates and those covering the team predicting a big year for the sophomore guard.
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak joined the growing chorus of praise for Russell when he addressed the media before the team’s first day of practice on Tuesday.
"Last year he had moments of brilliance, and then also moments that clearly showed he was a 19-year-old player playing for the first time in the NBA," Kupchak told Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com. "This offseason, which was very long, he was in the gym every day — not that he was the only one — but he seemed to have gotten a feel for what the first year is all about."
Whether or not Russell has developed the same feel for his second season will in large part determine how well the Lakers do this year. Kupchak said the team needs to win more games than they did in their 17-win campaign last season, and they will only go as far as Russell takes them.
The roster is uniquely built to complement the 20-year old guard, and if he takes the leap many are expecting, than the team will be able to show the type of progress Kupchak said he wants to see. If Russell really did work out every day over the summer, he’s on the right track to help the Lakers take a leap as well.
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