In a repeat of 2016’s NBA All-Star Weekend, the Los Angeles Lakers were represented in the Rising Stars game by two players. D’Angelo Russell returned to the exhibition featuring the league’s best young players (divided into a “World” team of international players and a U.S. Team), scoring 10 points and dishing four assists in 18 minutes of playing time.
Instead of Jordan Clarkson (who aged out of the event), this year Russell was joined by fellow second-overall pick Brandon Ingram. The rookie wing — whose smooth style led Russell to dub him “Cruise-Control Brandon” following the game — scored four points on four shots and grabbed three rebounds and a steal.
Neither Russell nor Ingram (or any other member of the Lakers for that matter) are going to represent the team during the main event of the weekend when actual All-Star game. Russell and Ingram might represent the Lakers’ best chances at representation in the years to come, and Ingram shared how he plans to get their following the US team’s 150-141 loss.
“Just continuing to work hard. This summer is going to be a big summer for me to make a great jump for next year,” Ingram said on Lakers.com, noting that he wants to get stronger and find other ways he can affect the game over the summer.
Russell doesn’t think the Lakers are going to get there until the team steps up its play on the court:
D'Angelo Russell on how he can become an All Star. "Winning and making noise in the playoffs. You win everybody gets here."— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) February 18, 2017
With such a young roster, it may be a while before the Lakers boast an All-Star again. That being said, Russell and Ingram’s presence as Rising Stars should raise hope they can get there one day.
All stats per NBA.com. and Basketball-Reference.com. All quotes transcribed via Lakers.com. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.