Lak­ers view guard Rus­sell ahead of the NBA draft

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Brod­er­ick Turner brod­er­ick.turner@la­times.com Twit­ter: @BA_Turner

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.

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