Lakers Select D'Angelo Russell With No. 2 Pick
Using their highest pick in the NBA Draft since 1982, the Lakers selected Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell. The First Team All-American brings plenty of offense to Los Angeles, as he averaged the most points of any freshman in the NCAA (19.3).
“I try to stand out wherever I go and be that star,” Russell said at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “I’m just a kid from Louisville with a big heart, big dream, and to be in this position in that franchise … is a great opportunity to really take my game to the next level.”
Though Russell — who scored double figures 33 times in 35 games for the Buckeyes — has put his scoring ability on display, he has also been praised for his passing, as he ranked third in the Big Ten in assists (5.0).
“We exhausted everything that’s available to us in terms of scouting Ohio State this year, filmwork, bringing him in twice, working him out and having dinner, talking basketball,” General Manager Mitch Kupchak said after drafting Russell. “My staff took D’Angelo out for dinner, and the coaching staff took him out the next evening.
“Considering the options that are available to us to evaluate players, we had all the information available to make our decision. There are a lot of good players in this draft. We felt he, at No. 2, was a player we couldn’t pass on.”
The 19-year-old was also a threat from deep, as he ranked second in his conference in both 3-pointers made (95) and 3-point percentage (41.1).
However, Russell left his biggest impression on head coach Byron Scott when he returned for a second workout with the Lakers in El Segundo.
“When he came back and he went 3-on-3, you saw the leadership qualities that he had,” Scott said. “You saw the ability to pass the ball and make other guys better; the ability to get to the basket and knock down 3’s and open jump shots and off-the-dribble shots. He had a pretty good total package offensively.”