Lakers view guard Russell ahead of the NBA draft
If D’Angelo Russell has some of the skill sets that Golden State’s Stephen Curry displayed this season, the Lakers would have a special talent on their hands if they decide to use their first-round draft pick on the 6-foot-4 guard from Ohio State.
After all, Curry is considered the best shooter in the NBA. He shot his way to the league’s most-valuableplayer award this season, and his Warriors are playing Cleveland in the Finals.
On Monday, Russell was given the opportunity to showcase his skills during a pre-draft workout with the Lakers, who have the No. 2 overall pick in the June 25 NBA draft.
“I just really try to model my game after Steph Curry,” Russell said after his workout. “With his success, he didn’t come into the league and played the way he’s playing now. He took some time. The player he has developed to be, I see a great resemblance.”
NBA scouts have described Russell as having a quick release and a smooth left-handed stroke. He has good court vision, is a strong decision-maker and has crafty ballhandling skills.
Russell, 19, doesn’t want to be typecast as a point guard or shooting guard — although he said he has the ability to play both positions.
And those are traits Curry has, Russell said.
“His ballhandling is off the charts,” said Russell, who has a workout with the New York Knicks on his schedule. “His shot selection I can say is kind of simi- lar to mine. But like I said, his work ethic to get him to where he’s at, I would say, is similar to mine also.”
Russell averaged 19.3 points per game and 5.0 assists in 35 games last season as a freshman for the Buckeyes. He shot 44.9% from the field, 41.1% from three-point range.
When he was at the NBA scouting combine last month, Russell was asked why a team should draft him. “I’m the best player in the draft,” he replied.
“I truly feel that way,” Russell said Monday.
“But I feel like you can ask anybody in the draft and they would have said the same thing. I just feel like I showcased it on many levels and I was put through so many different scenarios where I had to make the best out of it. And I had a lot of success with it.” Etc.
The Lakers will bring in former Duke center Jahlil Okafor for a Tuesday morning workout, and guard Cameron Payne from Murray State in the afternoon. …The Lakers also have the 27th and 34th picks in the June draft. The best-known players in early workouts Monday were Arizona swingman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, projected to be a mid-to-late first-round pick in most mock drafts, and Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison, who has dropped off most mock draft lists. Boston College guard Olivier Hanlan, Texas forward Jonathan Holmes, Massachusetts forward Cady Lalanne and Louisiana State forward Jordan Mickey also worked out.