When watching today’s the NBA, it is hard to escape the idea that the league is moving more and more towards perimeter oriented attacks. The pick and roll is now a primary action of most offenses and teams are valuing spacing and three point shooting more than ever. The Warriors just won the championship featuring an offense predicated on high volume three point field goal attempts, backed by Steph Curry, the first point guard to win league MVP and an NBA championship in the same season since Magic Johnson. And while I’m of the mind that the NBA isn’t so much a guard’s league as it is a skill league, it would be foolish to ignore the importance of a dynamic perimeter player to winning basketball.
This brings us to D’Angelo Russell, the Ohio State point guard who is currently rated as the top guard in the draft and a real option for the Lakers with the 2nd overall pick. While some will bristle at the fact the Lakers would even consider passing on whichever big man is on the board after the Wolves make their selection, Russell’s game is diverse and exceptional enough to put some of those concerns to bed.
To put it bluntly, Russell is a fantastic offensive player who really can do it all on that end of the floor. He possesses a smooth, refined game with equal parts savvy and moxie to be able to hurt defenses all over the floor with his scoring and ability to create shots for his teammates. Combine his skill level with his excellent size (6’5″) and length (6’9.75″ wingspan) and you quickly see why scouts salivate over his prospects at the next level.
When watching tape on Russell, his scoring ability instantly stands out. His jumper is smooth and comes with a quick release. He has range beyond the NBA three point line, but has real comfort level getting into the mid-range, separating from his man, and hitting jumpers in the 15-18 foot range. Further, when defenders crowd him, he has a good enough handle to get into the paint and either finish with a floater or get all the way to the rim for a bucket. Not to mention he can do excellent work off the ball as a spot up shooter or as a worker off screens as well. Being able to score in so many ways and at all three levels of the offense will serve him well in the NBA as he should be able to keep defenses off balance by not allowing them to key in on a single aspect of his game.
The most impressive part of his offensive game, however, might just be his court vision and passing ability. It’s clear Russell has a high basketball IQ. He can see how defenses are moving within their scheme and then has an ability to think one or two steps ahead to deliver a pass to an open teammate.
One of the keys to being a successful point guard in the league is the ability to make the “next level” pass when defenses take away first and second reads. Many guards never truly master this skill, but Russell already looks to have this part of the game in his tool-kit after only a single college season. The complex skip passes, delayed entries to diving big men, and “hockey” passes where he’s making the pass which leads to the pass for the assist are all part of his arsenal, showing an acumen for passing which is rare in a prospect his age. His willingness to accept pressure from defenses and be a willing passer out of that pressure with the poise he does is just fantastic.
Where Russell does have some issues is on the defensive side of the ball. While he has the physical tools to be a good defender, there are times he floats through possessions or simply doesn’t engage. In a recent article on Grantland, one anonymous NBA scout had this to say about Russell’s defense:
My issues with him are defensively. He guards with his instincts, that’s it. He’s so creative with his offense, so he knows the game, he’s smart. He knows how to defend — he’ll get into the passing lanes, he knows how to dig and recover, he knows rotations. But he can’t (expletive) guard anything. He’s disinterested. I saw [Ohio State] play Marquette earlier in the year. They were playing zone defense. Thad Matta doesn’t play zone. They were doing it to help Russell.
He gets by with his instincts, and I don’t know if you can do that in our league. I think that’ll be an issue for him. But he’s prideful enough and works at it [enough] to just be (expletive) capable.
The good thing is that Russell is young enough and smart enough to improve. Just as we talked about with Jahlil Okafor, it’s easy to forget these guys are only 19 years old and are nowhere near finished products. Russell has the physical tools and with the right coaching and a desire to improve, there is no reason he can’t become at least a passable defender. He has to want to do it, though. My guess is that he will, but that is just a guess.
Speaking of Okafor, I have said this before on twitter, but Russell is, to me, essentially the point guard version of the Duke big man as a prospect. Both players possess good size for their positions (including excellent length), both are offensive wizards who were the focal point of their team’s attack, both make the game look very easy, and both are knocked for their relative lack of athleticism and their questionable defense. Like with Okafor, I have few doubts Russell develops into an excellent pro who, at the very least, is an impactful offensive player who you can trust to get baskets and create easy looks for teammates. If either develop into even neutral defenders, the value their offense brings will be well worth the investment of a high draft pick.
When thinking about the Lakers, then, one has to strongly consider Russell as an option. Yes, the team has Jordan Clarkson, but as I have noted with other prospects in relation to fit next to Julius Randle, it would be silly to pass on a player who has such a high ceiling simply because you wonder about his fit next to a player who he may be (and in Russell’s case with Clarkson, likely is) better than.
The more pressing question, though, would be whether passing on a big man to draft Russell is the keenest idea. For me, personally, it is not. But the argument can be made (rather convincingly, I might add) that as the game does continue to evolve and the rules only further benefit perimeter players, having a potentially elite offensive player on the perimeter is even more important than having an elite offensive big man. Forget about the Warriors for a moment and think back to some of the most successful Lakers’ teams — whether we’re talking Kobe, Magic, or West this organization has always had a closer on the wing who could initiate the offense and either get his own shot or create a good one for a teammate. Russell, at his best, looks to be a player who fits that mold.
Whether the Lakers value that more than what a big man like Okafor could bring to the table isn’t known. But it’s not silly to think they would. Especially when it comes to Russell. He looks to be that good. If you don’t believe me, here are some clips to see for yourself:
George Best says
Great article. Russell should be the pick and he will make the Lakers much better while adding pace and excitement to a team that needs it. Okafor is missing something and while it might be hard to say exactly what it is, the Lakers with him are slow and lethargic and if he struggles early, this town will destroy him and his desire to be the best player he can be. The Bynum comps on the court and makeup wise are very similar.
I will keep saying this till proven other wise. Mudiay is better.
He is just as good of a passer, better rebounder, better defender, better finsher (can finsh with either hand), better athletic.
The only thing Russell has over him is shooting.
I’m not that big of an Okafor fan, but I still think he will be a decent player at least and as they say you can’t teach size. D. Russell looks pretty good but unless we were looking to dump Clarkson, I would definitely not sign him. Anyone we draft better bloody well get a chance to play large minutes year 1 for developments sake. We have glaring holes as the SF/Center positions. Unless the talent level of a guys is just so extreme to make drafting regardless of position gluts the smart move, which in this case I think its obvious that position matters.
IF somehow Kobe retired early or something, then yeah I would strongly consider Rusell at the point and Clarkson at the 2 guard. But that isn’t happening. As the poster above stated, I would rather have Mudiay as well. I’m tired of “hoping” a guy learns to defend as well, often times it doesn’t happen. Russells size stats are nice and all but Jeremy Lin also has a 6’9″ reach, its not an automatic given that makes them a potential uber defender.
But whatever at this point I don’t really care, just draft someone and lets move on to what really matters Free agency. I don’t care who we get at the top this year its not moving the win needle much for at least a couple more years, whereas a combo of some decent youngins’ with a good free agency pick-up could help us move much more quickly toward the 40 win and better club.
Easier to hide a perimeter player on defense. Dangelo also has the higher ceiling, im not saying Okafor is a bust but its harder to build a team around him, unless you play him next to ibaka. With Dangelino we at least have an entertaining product on the floor ans he compliments Clarckson perfectly. Lakers can a find a SOLID big on FA. Tyson Chandler, Robin Lopez( LA natives) or Asiik,
Warren Wee Lim says
I have a feeling this draft is going to produce more stars than the last one. Maybe we are too immersed with the top picks or maybe we just looked at these higher end prospects more closely.
In my thousand-and-one ways to make the Lakers back to a contender in one offseason, drafting Russell at 2 is a complete possibility, and here are my reasons:
1. Russell has the gravitas of being a star, almost perfect for Kobe’s farewell tour, so he can see the kid grow into the role he will be leaving.
2. Size, for his position, the ability to play 1 and 2.
3. Shooting, and I particularly like lefties. Fish and Odom. This time we got Randle and Russell.
4. Speaking of Randle, having a playmaker beside him would develop his skills more than playing beside another low-post guy.
5. As mentioned, today’s game is fixated onmetrics and motion. One day the game will go back into the low block but it will never be the same since Nelson and D’Antoni influenced the game.
6. The best free agents are bigs. Aldridge, Gasol, Love.
Drafting Russell makes sense. I’d fancy Okafor still, but got a feeling Minnesota takes him.
Renato Afonso says
Simply put, no. It’s not a knock on Russell but KAT and Okafor are the top two picks.
Patrick Lanigan says
I love Russell but there is no way I would take him at #2. When there are two extraordinary big men, you can’t pass on drafting one. I’d prefer Towns but assume that he will go first. If so, Okafor is the best option (and if KAT is available the Lakers need to sprint to the podium to announce him as their pick).
People are overreacting to the Warriors win and assuming that the NBA has officially changed. It hasn’t. Guards are important, but bigs are still more so. The Spurs were 5 seconds away from being the two-time defending champs, and Golden State would never have gotten past Memphis without having big, physical post players like Bogut and Speights (2 guys who got little to no action in the finals but who were instrumental in getting GS past the Grizzlies).
Okafor will probably be a top 5 low post offensive threat as a 20 year old rookie–and will go up from there. He will command double teams and open the floor for slashers like Randle and Clarkson. Were the Lakers picking at #3 I would be thrilled with Russell, but at #2 they have the chance to put in place a fantastic young front court that will permit them to spend their cap room on two perimeter players.
Warren Wee Lim says
Can I add 1 more reason:
7. Drafting Russell and having Clarkson and Kobe on board means we aren’t signing Rondo, which is a very good thing.
@WarrenWeeLim, You may be right about the “more” stars but I think the Biggest stars are from last years draft class. I would take Wiggins over anyone in this draft class. Watching him play, his upside is off the charts, he has the potential to be a Kobe Bryant like player. I would trade any of these guys plus clarkson to snag Wiggins if it was at all possible. Give wiggins another year to develop and keep improving his shooting stroke and put on more muscle and the dude is going to be pretty sick. For me I would rather have a superstar player than a star, honestly I think there is a good chance none of these top 3 guys become stars, at best they become good starters. Honestly more intrigued by Randle’s updside than these other guys, Randle’s speed/strength/athleticism is such a great mix and his jumper looked decent before he went down. I think Randle is the most likely guy for us to “build around” in terms of young guys–including whomever we get in this years draft.
I like Darius take that Okafor & Russell are really the same version of the other at the 5 and the 1. Either way, we’d be getting a great infusion of offensive creativity, both as scorers and with skilled, creative passing for their teammates, including Kobe. On the defensive side, it may be that both their college coaches were fine with them taking it easy on D due to concern over foul trouble and simple preservation of energy. Hopefully thats the case and they’ve got the capacity for simple, hard work to not be a liability on that end of the floor. Okafor will probably not become a great rim protector, p & r defender, or free throw shooter. Was Shaq? But with his size, footwork, lower body strength, and reasonable athleticism, he should definitely be able to defend well his opposite # down low and improve his defensive rebounding. Similarly, Russell needs to find the pride & energy to stick to his man, fight thru screens, etc. The truth is that if one is the focal point of an offense, its a lot to ask a 19 yo to be at 100% all the time at the other end. With physical and mental maturity at the pro level with capable teamates, that should change. But yes I’d like not to have to be crossing my fingers with these two. Still both are special if they have the character to become focused and effortful at both ends of the floor.
Jim Lee says
Honestly point guards are a dime a dozen, I feel the Lakers can sign a pg better than Russell in a few years (dragic this summer?) but a potential 20 pt scoring Big is harder to come by
Thomas Rickard says
My gut reaction is that Russell gives more options later in draft and also in FA’s , I slso think in post KB days the combination of Russell and Clarkson could turn into a great thimg. There’s several big FA’s available that along with Black and Davis could work out well with Randle, leaving the SF position the biggest question mark
Craig W. says
Actually the key to all this is Randle – kind of odd, isn’t it? What the Laker organization projects for Randle pretty much influences which way we go.
If Randle projects to be an Odom with muscle, then we should draft Russell. However, If there is some doubt Randle can properly muscle down low, we need to draft Okafor.
We need a presence down low, regardless what offensive system we run. Therefore, unless we already have an informal agreement with one of the free-agents, our ability to pound the boards depends on what the organization feels about Randle’s ability.
If the 76ers properly understand our situation, there becomes more incentive for them to try to trade places with us…hummmmm!
I totally agree with Tankyou, these two Centers are the best in this draft. Besides, Lakers need a Vet PG, then go for broke on Dragic.
Let Russell and Mudiay develop with other teams and get them later when they are seasoned. The only reason why the Finals this year was dominated by guards because the Centers were not cream of the crop while the role players of Cavs were not competitive enough to match Dub’s offense. Readily, we conclude guards dominate NBA. We are not even sure whether these draftees will succeed in this league. Where is Smart, Exxum in ’14 Draft Picks, still lingering on the bench?
Having said that, what is important is after July 1st when the F/A floodgates open. Go for Dragic, Butler, Loe Williams, D. Green. If Lakers don’t get them at least their respective teams max their contracts and hurts their caps space.
Good takes for the most part. I agree the pick should be Russell. The problem in the league has been getting great guards – they never become FA’s.
Mr. Lee – if guards a dime a dozen, please explain to my why Smush Parker started for the lakers, or last year they had mostly retreads. Its the other way around: Big men are a dime a dozen, and given the increased importance on 3 point shooting, bigs ar less relevant now for scoring.
I would rather have a point guard making 40% of 3’s then a big man hitting 50-55% of 2’s. Do the math!
Guys anyone who follows recruiting knows Mudiay is better than Russell. Scouts who watched them both all through high school had Mudiay rated much higher with the comparison to John Wall (hence why John Calipari wanted him so bad).
The biggest reason Russell is the trendy pick because he has been seen in College, while Mudiay is an unknown due to playing overseas. If Mudiay goes to SMU it’s not even a discussion who is better or who is going first. We Kentucky fans were salivating over the guy thinking we had the next John Wall until he spurned Cal for Larry Brown.
Honestly Russell is a fine player but he isn’t a top 5 pick, watched the kid all year long as I follow college closely and HS recruiting even more closely and Russell is being really overhyped. Calipari chose Booker over Russell if that tells you anything, Russell is actually a Kentucky native and Cal still passed on him.
As for Mudiay fears about him being unknown, I told everyone on here that Exum was going to be overdrafted based off one Exhibition high school all star game where he played well and so far he’s proven me right. Mudiay is not that way, we saw a ton of him against the top American talent and he was special. In the one American game Exum played he picked on two terrible second round draft picks in Andrew and Aaron Harrison. Mudiay and Russell have little comparison as far as who is better. The biggest knock against Mudiay is his shooting isn’t great yet, but he’s NBA body ready and you can’t say that about Russell.
If you’re taking a guard you take Mudiay but I still think the safest pick is one of the bigs.
Craig W. says
In looking at a guard vs a big man, the key is probably defense. Look at GS, with Green. The only reason they could play him at center is his ability to at least stay afloat against bigger front-court players. Ultimately what distinguished GS this year is their defense. They were able to swarm and recover and everyone went for rebounds.
I guess, that is my biggest concern with Okafor. It is also why I think I would put Mudiay somewhat on a par with Russell for the Lakers. If we don’t have some rim protection from our bigs we sure better be able to stay in front of people on the perimeter.
Ideal world — trade with 76ers, then trade again with NY. Come away with Mudiay and pieces and/or 1st round draft pick next year.
I do not trust Okafor defensively. Would much rather trade down and get Mudiay or Russell and another asset. Of course, do ANYTHING to get Towns, the only sure superstar in this draft.
Russell has enormous onions.
P. Ami says
I’m in Camp Okafor for a number of reasons and a few have been touched upon above.
1. As great as Russell is as a passer, Okafor is a tremendous passer as well and that passing ability from that area is a great skill
2. Okafor is a tremendous finisher. The guy finished 79% of his close range shots on the move, non-post up situations. This is unprecedented. With his hands, strength, footwork, handle, size and touch this kid is going to kill people on the P&R. Plus he has the passing ability to keep the ball moving if the defense collapses.
3. I think Okafor has a fair chance at becoming a defender in the mold of Marc Gasol who uses his size, length, feet and intelligence to effect shots, grab rebounds and start the break. On the other hand, does Russell develop into a defender with similar effectiveness as it correlates to the guard position? In other words, there is more data showing that Okafor may develop into a Marc Gasol type defender than there is for Russell becoming a peak Kurt Hinrich defender. Dwell on that a moment.
4. This draws fully from Darius’ great piece the other day about Okafor. If you have basketball skills and talent then system, era, style etc… doesn’t really matter much. The old adage, you don’t trade big for small, is still applicable today. Both Russell and Okafor are great passers. Both have great handle. Both are excellent scorers, although Russell has shown more problems scoring against top level teams than Okafor has. Okafor has just beasted on everyone. Both have question marks regarding their defense. Okafor has been on the radar for a 3 years and has performed magnificently while winning championships. Russell came relatively out of nowhere, fell off a little towards the end of the season, and struggled some against top competition. Okafor’s ability shows up in both the eye-test and in the stat sheet. His ability to finish around the rim is next level elite. You can see it in his tools, on tape and in the stats. Russell is an excellent player but I don’t think he is on the same level as Okafor.
The biggest take away I have had regarding Okafor, as I’ve taken a deeper look at the guy, is his ability to catch the ball, handle it and to finish on the move while being fluid the whole time. Of course I would love for him to be more explosive but, he will be a P&R beast immediately. The team will be able to control the pace of games next season with a 2/5 pick and roll surrounded by shooters.
I wouldn’t be disappointed if the Lakers picked Russell with #2. In a lot of ways, he would be a great pick. He fits in nicely with Randle and even Clarkson and has great size at either the 1 or the 2. Couple that with his nice shooting touch, high basketball IQ, and elite court vision and he is a nice prize for the Lakers. And it wouldn’t hurt having Kobe help mentor him.
All that said, I think this is still Okafor’s position to lose. So much focus has been placed on his limitations that people seem to forget or minimize his ability to absolutely dominate in the paint. He shot 66% from the field. Sixty. Six. Percent.
Of course both players have room for development. They need to improve their defense and Okafor needs to work on getting to be at least a 60% free throw shooter.
P. Ami says
Jon, in regards to Smush… You are referencing a long gone era. Since Smush came into the league and fell out we have seen the emergence of Westbrook, Curry, Wall, Rose, Bledsoe, Lillard, Irving, Dragic, Conley, Teague, Lawson, Lowry, Rubio, Holiday, Walker and Rondo (rise and fall). Those are just point guards and just off the top of my head. This does not even count Payton, Smart, Thomas, MKG, Oladipo, Exum, Clarkson, nor Beverly who are either still developing or flawed. This does not even count the players who had emerged by 2006 and remain relevant, such as Tony Parker and CP3.
That is 23 high quality point guards in a league with 30 teams. Should we also consider the 2-guard?
I would rather spend a #2 pick on big man making 55%-60% of his shots, while drawing fouls at a high rate who also kicks it out to 3&D shooters who finish approx. 40% of their 3’s, than draft a 40% three point shooter who has never shown he can defend. Yes, Russell is a great passer and a skilled ball handler etc… He will be a really nice player. I’d rather draft a top-5 center than a top-20 guard.
This draft isn’t a big v small debate. Some drafts are. Some drafts have bigs and smalls that are of equal value. In those drafts it’s fair to have a big v small debate. And in those drafts I would confidently argue BIGS ARE ALWAYS BETTER THAN SMALLS on your team if of the same quality!!!!!
In this draft (unless Towns becomes a stretch five which might happen) there is a clear drop off to me after Mudiay. And a clear drop off after Winslow and Mario. I see Towns as the fourth best player in this years draft which is a great top heavy draft. I mean to have a guy as good as Towns will be ad I think he is the fourth best player in the draft? To have a guy as good as I think Porzingis will be and he is the fifth best player in the draft? BTW I think he is a SF in the NBA if he is coordinated enough to be great. But he probably is a stretch 4 who won’t be able to rebound. Towns will be a top five center. But that isn’t a dynamic player. There is only one center in the NBA who is of elite quality (Cousins). The rest are replaceable/interchangeable.
The reason Okafor is a giant bust risk is because he only has one good quality. His low post scoring. But what if he isn’t quick and explosive enough to score effectively in the post against NBA centers? And here is the biggest tell… What NBA center who wasn’t athletic enough to play good defense was athletic enough to score well in the post? The answer is Yao Ming and other centers who were 7-4 and up.
Aaron, your doubts about Okafor are valid, but I don’t think he’s going to struggle to score against NBA centers. The reason? He’s game is not based on bullying people in the post. If Okafor scored all his points by being bigger and stronger than everyone else, I wouldn’t be as high on him. However, from what I’ve seen, his game is actually built on finesse, great footwork, and a terrific understanding of post position and play. The fact that he is a good passer just adds to his intrigue.
I’ve been speculating the possibility of trading down in the draft with Orlando or Sacramento. That way we might still be able to get one of Mudiay, Winslow, or Russell, while filling other holes inside. Is this vague enough as trade speculation?:)
Is D’Angelo Russell Worth the #2 Pick?
In agreement with Renato. Not when a Karl A. Towns or Okafor is available. Personally, I would be shocked and disappointed if the FO straight up bypassed on 1 of the 2 aforementioned bigs in order to select Russell or Mudiay (with all due respect given to the talented PG’s).
Each of the 4 have tremendous potential, along with a few weaknesses, which has been dissected quite well by Darius and members of our FB&G Community. I just happen to be of the belief that when the prospects are so close in comparison, with no one really standing out, head and shoulders, above the next individual – although I have KAT rated at the top – it would be in the best interests of the organization to select which ever big is left over of the two. It just so happens that those 2 bigs, imo, happen to be the best players available in this draft.
It really depends on how you rate Okafor and Russell now and project their potential into the future with every other player in the NBA@ their positions. Since none of us have seen the recent workouts,it`s even harder to project. I just don`t think the Lakers would take a player other than a C without the confidence they have a very high probability of signing a FA big. Most important in any evaluation of 19year olds is how hard will these guys work on their games and bodies with a big contract already in their pocket. We can point to Clarkson, but he was 22, 2nd round,and still looking for his big payday in the future.
Wouldn’t mind the Lakers trading down to #4 to take Mudiay, and potentially acquiring future picks from the Knicks, or maybe another asset.
When it’s all said and done 3 to 4 years out, Mudiay will be the best talent of this draft. When he is a professional, and all he has to think about is Basketball, I have no doubt the shot will be polished. Not to mention, he is an extremely humble kid, with great character. This won’t be a quick fix for the Lakers, I would rather take my time and do things right… Sorry, but we won’t get Durant next year
wish we could make a run at KAT, but it looks unlikely. Minnesota is going to have a hell of a team if they can hold on to wiggins and KAT
Okafor, needs to come a long way in terms of his body and agility, not sure that will ever happen. I’m sure he will be really good, just extremely one dimensional.
K.J. Martin says
I’ve had Russell going 2nd since the Lottery order was announced. The Lakers are fools if they don’t take him; he WILL be the best player in this draft within 4 years — and it won’t be close (All-Star by Year 3). Clarkson and he would make a killer backcourt, and if they put Kobe at the 3, Randle at the 4 and sign a cheap 5, these guys get LAL to the #13 or #14 spot in next year’s Lottery (MIN should be there, also, by taking Okafor), while winning some big games around the league against their betters (GSW, CLE, OKC, ATL, WAS) — some of which will be on National TV, I’m sure.
But watch Kupchak eff-up and take either Okafor or Towns, making most of the above moot. LA Fakers for real, then — for the next 10 years or so….
Another option would be to trade down and get Cauley-Stein and an additional asset. He might turn out a bigger difference maker than some of the guys drafted ahead of him.
I fully expect Minnesota to take Towns with their pick while the Lakers take Okafor. I would be more than slightly amazed if that did not occur.
The more intriguing question IMO is what the Lakers will do with their 2nd first round draft pick. There are numerous rumors flying around that the Lakers are attempting to trade that pick, either for a future first rounder (thus freeing up $963K in additional cap space to pursue FAs) or packaging that pick with another Laker currently under contract to get a higher draft pick on June 25th.
This, I think, could actually happen. The Lakers have needs everywhere but their most glaring hole right now is at the SF position. I expect the Lakers to make a run at Jimmy Butler (although Chicago will probably match that offer, poison pills and all) and then perhaps bid on Demarre Carroll. But they would still need a back up SF. So…if they had a draft pick in the 17-23 range in this year’s first round draft, they could choose either Rondae Hollis-Jefferson or Justin Anderson. Like Demarre Carroll, both Hollis-Jefferson and Anderson are excellent defenders. At the University of Arizona, Hollis-Jefferson would always guard the opponent’s best player whether that person was a 1, 2, 3, or 4. In fact, he was largely responsible for holding D’Angelo Russell to 3-19 in the NCAA tournament when Arizona soundly defeated Ohio State.
If all of this were to play out as I’m suggesting, then the 3 position next year could suddenly become a position of strength. But first the Lakers have got to improve their draft position with their second first round draft choice to ensure that they could draft a wing player, thus providing crucial depth.
One way or the other, it should be an interesting week coming up.
Patrick Lanigan says
Okafor a bust? I think that’s a real stretch. Most analysts consider him to have the most refined low post offensive game of any guy coming out since Tim Duncan.
If that isn’t attractive enough for you, consider this: Okafor is 19 years old and doing what he does after one year of college. What made Duncan such a great NBA prospect was that he honed his game in college for FOUR years. Ask yourself if Okafor stayed at Duke for three more years if he might be a more attractive prospect. He has incredible upside and is being diminished because of a lazy narrative. We will be extremely fortunate to get him.
That’s the problem. Okafors game is based on skill (coordination). He had enough athleticism to score in the post against smaller and less athletic college kids because of his frame and skill. Unfortunately he struggled against good college centers that had size and strength. Every NBA center is bigger and stronger and more athletic than anyone he faced in college.
Luke Waltons game was based on great coordination. He had just enough quickness, speed, and explosiveness to utilize that coordination. But when he had back surgery and was robbed of the little quickness, speed, and explosiveness he did possess he could no longer play in the league. Having great coordination (skill) is awesome. But you need a certain amount of the other athletic traits to make use of it at the NBA level.
That’s why players can’t play forever. They keep their coordination as they age… But the other athletic traits diminish at a far greater rate. It’s why Duncan is no longer a good low post player who draws double teams. His skill/coordination is still there. And that’s who I think Okafor is. A forty year old Duncan without the experience.
… Grumpy… My best analogy for Okafor is Christian Leatner. He was so coordinated/skilled. He was better in college than Shaq. But he wasn’t quick, fast, or explosive enough to take advantage of his elite coordination in the NBA.
Patrick Lanigan says
LOL, Aaron. A 19 year old Okafor is a forty year old Duncan. Where do you come up with this stuff? A 19 year old Okafor is better than a 19 year old Duncan was.
I know you weren’t comparing Okafor to Luke in terms of skill, but even accounting for that your analogy is totally unfair. Luke Walton was a middling NBA talent who was drafted in the 2nd round and who, only after finding his dream system under Phil Jackson, outperformed his draft status.
Okafor is a guy who was as heralded an incoming freshman as there has been, and who backed it up all year long by being the consensus #1 overall pick. Now, oddly enough, he’s dropped (by all of one slot in all likelihood…) after leading his team to a national championship over a team that the now consensus top pick, in spite of having substantially better teammates, couldn’t beat. You’re really not giving him his due here.
Patrick, the consensus top pick couldn’t beat Wisconsin because his coach is a moron who was subbing his best player out for a middling second round talent so “he could be fair to all the kids.” I agree with your points about Okafor I like the guy but don’t put that on Towns’ shoulders that was all John Calipari.
Patrick Lanigan says
Cats, I’m with you. Wasn’t trying to put down KAT. I’d prefer him to Okafor, actually. Just trying to point out that all Jahlil did was lead his team to the title. There’s something to be said for that.
Don’t forget that legends West, Magic and Kobe had Wilt, Kareem, and Shaq to help them win championships,
Brian p. says
Mike. Genius. We should draft both of them 🙂
Okafor has a weird looking torso. His waist is as wide as his chest. I don’t trust him I think he wears Spanx.
Nik Kannan says
we basically have no shot of keeping our pick unless it is in the top 3 next season (see nash & dwight trade), as a result your analysis is no longer credible.
go mundiay or jahlil.
done with people who are safe guarding for the i told you sooo..
It looks like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been working on his shot. Check out this video:
I think it all comes down to what style of play and chemistry the FO wants the Lakeshow to play. While the Dubs won with small-ball, a dominant big front-court or a “healthy” and talent-laden squad could very well outmatch small-ball. I like all the prospects, and think they will be great players, but don’t think any of them will be transcendent players in the mold of MJ/Magic/LBJ/Shaq. More than anything, I’m anxious to find out what the FO has in store for trades and FA acquisitions, as they’re going to be out to spend top $. The probabilities of who they might get may weigh in on how they draft, but that would be putting the cart ahead of the horse, and who they draft might weigh on who they can get. The player they draft is just one piece of the puzzle.
Well being thinking. Rus has a better chance of being a super star then Oak. Also a better chance of making others better by opening up the floor. If is was Towns I would pick him but will Oak make the team better next year? Rus I am sure will. He also can make Things easier for Kobe by creating open shots.
Clarkson will never be a super star. Shot won’t let him. Use the cap to bring in one of the available centers like Monroy and resign Davis and Rus gives you outside shot plus penetration. Again if it were Town he could be Davis like but what can Oak be when current PG are out scoring and playing ours.
Convinced be the order is Town, Russell, Okafer. Think of 10 years of
an all-star PG which last happened with Magic. Got my vote.
Warren Wee Lim says
My post about why Russell makes sense has nothing to do with my top choice. My top choice is Okafor, just saying that if Russell turned out to be the pick, I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Funny how we’d like to draft Mudiay and others now that we have the 2nd pick, few weeks ago we were cringing at the possibility of losing the pick to Philly.
Warren Wee Lim says
Someone just compared Okafor to both Luke Walton and Christian Laettner. Somebody wants attention.
James Katt says
Unless Russell is the next Kobe Bryant – and he is not – then I would pass on him.
-With our Lakers needing SO MUCH to become relevant again, maybe one way to look at who to select w/ the #2 pick is “league wide positional upside”.
– Based on current players in the league, which of the following draft picks has the better chance to being a top 5 NBA player at his position going forth, thus having a bigger impact on the team pending future success? Mudiay or Russell at the point? Okafor or KAT at the five? Winslow or Prozinga on the wing?
-@ Anonymous, it may be too early for the Lakers FO to decide on the style of play the want. It’s not going to be based on any of these draft picks, but on 1 or 2 of the FA’s they pick up after Kobe’s contract comes off the books. This draft choice will need to blend into that upcoming, unknown style while at the same time start to show what they can do with whatever touches they can get this year behind Kobe and most likely Randle.
Nik Kannan says
Jahlil Okafor goes by Jah…
Just wanted to let y’all know… You can stop calling him Okafor or Oak.
I’m a little more sold on Russell than Okafor. As has been said Okafor and Russell are very similar players playing different positions. They are highly skilled offensive players with what I would deem average defensive prowess. I think their defensive deficiencies tend to be a bit overblown.
The tipping point comes from that in the NBA it is common to funnel guys into the paint to your Center. Defense for the Center position is a big deal while not as much of a concern for guards. This in my opinion tips the scales in Russell’s favor.
I also believe Russell’s game translates easier to most modern offensive schemes. These schemes have developed over the years due to the allowance of zone, the removal of hand checking, and the advent of the 3pt shot. It is not that you cannot run an offense through the post with a guy like Okafor but is like skating uphill.
Then there is the question of fit. You can of course trade guys that don’t fit but it is another thing to do then. Okafor plus Randle as the team’s shot blocking core sends shudders down my spine. Clarkson and Russell’s games compliment each other well. Clarkson being more of a slasher while Russell is able to switch back and forth from being a play maker to shot maker at will. This forms an extremely flexible back court.
Other notables, Towns is the no-brainer pick of this draft but unlikely to be available. Porzingis I believe may have the most upside of anyone in the draft but fans will have to be patient with him for at lest 1 year while he fills out. Cauley-Stein is probably the safest pick in the entire draft. Defense tends to translates well and I believe WCS is a great at defense as Okafor is at offense. Trading down for WCS might make a lot of sense. I would add right after WCS would probably be Winslow who would be another trade down candidate.
None of the top 5 picks are absolute sure things, because almost nobody ever is. There are many posts above speculating about who might turn out the best. It would not shock any of us too much if the #5 pick has a better career than the #2 pick (it has happened many times in history). That said it is about odds. Taking one of the two bigs is the safest thing to do (although certainly not a sure thing). Deviating from that is an advanced parlay that I would not have the confidence that we could successfully pull off. We have one of the top two picks which means we have pocket Aces. When you have that, you do the obvious and go all in, which means taking one of the top two guys. If you play it slow, and try to bluff and get cute, you could end up in deep trouble. Any deviation from the basic plan would be a high risk move, only to be attempted by an ingenious management team. Hence we stick to the basics and take whichever of the two bigs is there.
Nik Kannan says
Why is Prozingy even getting any play??
Is watching him dunk or shoot the ball against nobody really that impressive?
We have seen the other guys almost too much where they are being overly scrutinized.
BTW Mundiay (That is the one guy who id consider over Jah at 2) will be a better pro than Russel.
I was practically agreeing with all the posts on one aspect or another. One thing hasn’t been mentioned yet and that is attitude. Clarkson is hard-nosed, works on his game daily and listens to his coach. What if Russell turns out to be like Van Excel? Sure, Nick had talent, but he never had the drive to be a good defender. Defense is about focus and attitude. Do you guys think Mudiay could be a viable two-way?
D’Angelo Russel reminds me a lot of Chauncy Billups. Obviously, Billups was a really good player, and no team should be upset if they land a guy that has that kind of upside, however, I think it would be a mistake for the Lakers to draft Russel over Oakafor.
Oakafor is a stud that isn’t going to have much trouble transitioning his game to the NBA. His feel for scoring from the post, is going to make him a guy that will likely be a 20 and 10 guy.
The fear that back to the basket bigs, are becoming obsolete, is misguided. It is not a hindrance to any team to have a very skilled post scorer. The game is not transitioning away from bigs, so much as it is transitioning away from bigs with limited skill sets (I think an in his prime Shaq would still manage to have some success, playing in today’s game).
Mental makeup is a huge factor in any players overall success, so I think unless the Lakers feel that Oakafor does not possess the right mental makeup to be a great player (and Russel does), they should not pick Russel over Oakafor.
Appreciation for all the posts, and articles of FB&G.
Shooting—I knew a kid in high school that rarely missed during shooting drills, but in a game even when he was wide open his shooting percentage was abysmal. Some guys make shots in the gym during shooting drills, and some make shots in games but are not impressive during shooting drills. Give me the guy that drills shots with a hand in their face during competition over the guy that shoots 28-30 shots during a drill in an empty gymnasium.
I always want attention. And I’m almost always right about players. Both things are true. I am off where I know I might be off. I don’t take into account shooting. Well of course I do. But I don’t weigh that as hevely as everything else. Shooting is harder to predict. I’m not a shot doctor. I can’t tell. The only way I can predict shooting is by looking at coordination. Curry and Nash have some amazing body control/coordination). That’s the only way I take into account shooting. I see if a player has great coordination then I think no matter what the scouts tell me or how he performed one year in college shooting… I look at that coordination and dribbling (hand/eye coordination). If a prospect has that I’m guessing he will be a very good to great shooter after more reps. Listen… The one prospect I missed on was Curry. I didn’t see his amazing ability to make shots while moving. I thought Curry would be a Steve Kerr who could defend a little bit better. So a pretty good player. I thought he would be an average to below avg Starting PG. So a really good player. But not who he became. Not even close. His coordination is off the charts.
And that’s why I don’t know about Towns. I don’t know. I don’t see that crazy coordination where he will be a stretch five. A 36 percent three point shooting center? I don’t see it. But if I’m wrong and I could be wrong… If he becomes that stretch 5 he will be the most valuable player in the NBA. A rim protector who can guard the PNR and stretch the floor? Are you kidding me?
But if he is what I think he is… the best players in this draft are Mudiay and Mario… And Winslow. And in that order.
Happy Fathers Day!
This is the root of every spot we disagree. You think the Lakers won’t draft Mudiay if they had the top pick. I think we have very smart NBA talent evaluators in the front office to the point that if the Lakers draft Okafor I would question if they know something I don’t and believe they do.
D’angelos coordination level is off the charts.. He’s clearly the best shooter off the dribble in this draft. Elite prospect. Harden/curry mix. Lakers should draft the guy, slot him next to clarkson and kobe, and they can contend in the next year or two.. Randle will be a good paint player to complement those three excellent guard/wings. Kobe should be a sf at this point of his career and in the current pace and space age in the NBA.
That is a playoff lineup.
Towns’s stroke is not broken so badly it cannot be improved. I’m actually more concerned with his lack of touch around the basket. At least he’s won’t be as bad as DH. The real value of having Towns on the floor, is the flexibility you gain due to his versatility and mobility. Also, he does not look all that bad on defense away from the basket.
More than likely, the top 5 players drafted will end up being average players (e.g. 3rd option). Although Towns and Mudiay could become 2nd option potentially. The knock on Okafor is his lack of explosiveness. He’s going to struggle against some individual defenders and deliberate defensive scheme come playoff time. Even an explosive player like Lebron had shot poorly in the post. Some of you might suggest, Okafor is a true 5 and will have more room to operate than Lebron, he’s going to leverage his length and big hand to get good shots at the basket, blah, blah,… But this where lies the problem, Okafor’s only strength is around the post; he’s not as versatile as Towns. If he turns out to be so so as a post player, he may not have other skill sets to stay on the floor to contribute. To me, the risk is just too high. Russell is NBA-ready, but again does not look like he’ll be option-1 player on a contender.
Conclusion: if Minn take Towns as expected, we should consider trading down. Getting Porzingis or Cauley-Stein and other assets is not a bad choice.
Aaron, I have to give you props for sticking to your guns and making a cogent case for your guys. I’ve been on the Okafor bandwagon, but I went back to DraftExpress here http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Jahlil-Okafor-6469/ . Truly impressed and giddy with the moves and offensive prowess on the first Strengths video. Nonplussed at the “Weakness” video concerning Oak’s defensive deficiencies. What killed me was the “Okafor vs Poeltl” vid where a raw, skinny freshman center from Utah, albeit 7 ft, played Oak to a standstill, outscoring him 10 to 6. Very disconcerting. Of course, I’ve read where Russell is similarly lazy when it comes to guarding his opposite #.
On Mudiay, I’m sorry but to me a starting guard in the NBA, let alone a top pick, needs to shoot higher than 60% from the FT line, 19 yo or no. Hezonja, yes, could be a star. No question on his skills, athleticism, and shooting. His D may become really good too with emphasis on may. His leadership tho is my question. That leaves Winslow who before we got the 2 pic I was craving. At this point, I think I’d defer to the FO’s intel on their character, how these guys were coached, how they responded or did not respond to coaching, got along with teamates, staff, etc. If Russell or Oak were told not to play hard on D for fear of fouling out or tiring, then there’s hope. If they were just lazy or hard headed then god help us we’re better off with Winslow.
Joe Houston says
I think Mudiay is the best Pro prospect in this draft. One of 2 players with Superstar potential. I wouldn’t trade down, I’m taking him with the 2nd pick. BTW, I would take him with the 1st pick if we had that. 10 years from now people will wonder how Mudiay and Winslow weren’t the 1st and 2nd picks respectively.
Since Joe Houston sees things the way I do I have to ask you one thing… Have you seen Mario from Croatia play? I think he might be two… pushing Winslow to three For me.
I wouldn’t fret too much about Okafor’s performance against Utah. He simply had a bad game. He went 3-6 against Poeltl with 8 rebounds and 4 fouls. He was also double-teamed the entire game.
But he wasn’t alone. Towns, on March 26 against West Virginia had 1 point (0-3) and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes. He was so bad, Calipari had to sit him in favor of Willie Trill Cauley-Stein. Two days later, Towns looked like the 2nd coming of Hakeem Olajuwon against Notre Dame when he was unstoppable: 25 pts. (10-13), 5 rebounds, 25 minutes. Night and day.
D’Angelo Russell had his challenges, too. Against Arizona on March 21 he had 9 pts on 3-19 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in 37 minutes. He was hounded mercilessly by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (whom I’m very high on) and just simply didn’t look good.
Remember Andrew Wiggins’s performance last year? Atrocious. After his season-ending performances, experts were having all sorts of doubts about him at this time last year.
The point is, these are 19-year old kids who are going to have good games and bad games. As mere teenagers, they’re going to be inconsistent. It’s par for the course. I would suggest looking at their larger body of work. If you look at one game — good or bad — you can end up with a very unbalanced conclusion.
I think Okafor will be fine. He may not be the next Moses Malone. But I think he’ll be solid. And right now, after what the Lakers endured last year, I’ll settle for that.
– Unlike our Lakers, the Clips focus is a title in 2015-2016. Acquiring Lance Stephenson for Matt Barnes, nice first move. Now I’m reading Paul Pierce will return and has narrowed his team choices to returning to the Wizards or Doc w/ the Clips. Could be a nice 2nd move…
Latest mock at draft express
#2 – Okafor
#27 – Justin anderson
#34 – Cliff Alexander
…. not bad … plus Kevin Looney, ronade Hollis Jefferson, and Vaughn are in trading distance if we wanted to package things and bigs upshaw and dakari johnson are listed behind 34 so we could possibly pick those guys up instead of alexander … it also looks like there is another huge indian player coming to the NBA in satnam singh .. 7’2 300lbs
Some people here in the comment section talk like they know more than the FO do, I wonder why they are not running a team, get over yourself sheesh. I believe the Lakers will draft either Towns or Okafor for the simple fact that skilled bigs are harder to come by than skilled guards, is as simple as that in my opinion, at this stage all this talk is overanalyzing a dead horse, all these players have flaws one way or the other. Im no expert like some people here claim to be but my guess is that we are drafting whoever big is left after the Wolves choose. It’s so simple really…
BTW great read Darius…
I really like this kid and I would not be surprised if they draft him but we need a big more than we need another guard right now at least that’s how I see it.
@ Jack… That is a playoff lineup.
Not to be a jerk, but no, it’s not. Unless you’re talking about a 27 year old Kobe and the forward/center you’re referring to is a young Shaq. It will be an accomplishment for this year’s team to improve by 10 games and maybe leapfrog 2 teams or so in the standings.
The Lakers are currently a very bad team – with a roster that is as poor as any in the league. Getting back to .500 let alone the playoffs is going to be a process. Yes, they will have a young core which is a good thing and will give us fans hope for the future. But to think that a team comprised of a 37 year old Kobe (who has not been healthy in three years) a rookie PF (coming off of missing a year due to an injury) a rookie guard, a second year guard (who shined because he was the only option on a horrible team) and a to be named big can make a playoff push is a pipe dream. Doubling our win total would not guarantee a playoff spot.
The big question is how will the FO go about the rebuild – specifically, who will they sign via free agency. If they sign older elites that may have 2 good years left in them but they have to be signed to 4 year deals then this could be a case of one step forward and two steps back. Better in my mind to go slow and acquire as much young talent as possible and fill in with young free agents.
The West is freakishly loaded. It makes no sense to rush a rebuild that gets us stuck at the 7th or 8th seed every year. Everyone thinks the challenge is to create a team to defeat Golden State, well it’s much more than that. We need to beat the future great teams from the West: Utah, Minnesota and Sacramento – teams that now have stable/good management, have assembled a lot of young talent and have been taking their lumps as they learn how to win.
My gut says this is a longer process than many want to acknowledge.
Nice look at the lone Okafor Towns matchup, wish it had been during the championship game.
Lew Alcindor had problems against Elvin Hayes in College.
Was it therefore a mistake to draft Alcindor #1?
the other Stephen says
@ Mid-Wilshire @ R,
Thanks for your even-keeled thoughts. There’s so much spin going on leading up to draft day that I’m getting vertigo.
From SB Nation’s Yaron Weitzman:
Remember Dario Saric, the 6’10 forward who was taken No. 12 overall by the Orlando Magic in last year’s draft and then shipped to Philadelphia in exchange for Elfrid Payton? Well, he won’t be joining the Sixers this season. Instead he’s elected to stay in Turkey and continue playing for Anadolu Efes, with whom he signed a three-year deal with last season, Saric’s agent informed ESPN’s Chad Ford.
Between this and the latest Joel Embiid news, this hasn’t been the greatest summer for the Sixers. That sound you hear, that’s NBA fans in the rest of the country laughing at Sam Hinkie.
I think the 76ers will be in the Lottery again next year as well. I also believe that Hinkie’s successor will be the GM that gets Philadelphia back into the playoffs.
T. Rogers says
Interesting comments here. There is a lot of guess work involved in this. The reality is the Lakers need talent up and down their roster. Whoever they select on Thursday will be one more piece in the puzzle. But only a piece. When I look at it this way I don’t worry about who they will select. If the Lakers select Okafor on Thursday and steal Jimmy Butler in July I’ll be very satisfied. Okafor (or Towns) alone isn’t changing anything.
The thing is we don’t know if whoever we draft is going to be a bust, hell Randle can still be a bust, he is still an unknown commodity, if we get say, Okafor and pair him with Julius with Kobe who looks like he can’t play a 82 game season anymore and Clarkson hoping that he don’t get the sophomore jinx and whoever small fwd we can find (I don’t bother with rumors) we wont make the playoffs, not by a long shot, what we need to do establish that this is the core going fwd. and if these 3 young guys prove that they can be counted on for years to come, the free agents will come, right now I would not even dare to wild guess how the team will look next season or how good it’s going to be, I do expect improvement.
I haven’t watched anywhere close to enough of Oak’s games, but Aaron claims that he cleans up on lesser college centers due to his physicality & post skills. But that he has struggled against the better competition, like Utah. I’m sure the FO is taking a close look at his competition & overall production. My worry is his motivation on D. He’s clearly got the body & footwork to be a good low post defender, albeit not a real rim protector. That is if he wants to. Didn’t appear like he wanted to at Duke. OTOH, Coach K may have been fine with him relaxing on D given their lack of depth and the fact he was a focal pt on Offense and not in the best of shape. Still, not a good sign. Now, he’s clearly gotten in better shape, he seems like a very very good kid. He’s got the tools to be a beast in a variety of ways near the basket. Still, I’m starting to gravitate to Russell, who is no Derek Rose or Westbrook, but is special. Curry and Hardin come to mind. The shocker would be Hezonja. That’s not out of the question.
Truthfully, I’d love if Justin Anderson got to us at #27. There are other SFs who can play in the league as well like Brown or Connaughton at the swing but have some holes or concerns. Ideally, we get 1 or 2 of the ten teams picking ahead of us to make a reach and enable one of 5 or so swing players or point guards to drop to us. Like Mid W, I’d love to see HollisJ wearing the uniform. Or Hunter, or Vaughn, or even Dekker or Oubre conceivably at the swing along with Anderson. Jones, Grant or Wright at PG. All of these guys SHOULD go before 27. I don’t want all of them. Just one.
Aside from the cost what’s wrong with Ed Davis or Greg Monroe manning the Center position for the Lakers into the future? Selecting Russell and signing Monroe actually is not a bad idea…
@Kevin I could go for that. Still believe they are going to draft a big and home grow him. Earl Monroe is good but he is no rim protector and defense is not his forte, that being said, thats a reasonable scenario.
@Kevin Monroe is not even the defender that Okafor is now. If you are fine with getting an offensive center you culd go that route. Okafor could be a good all around center. Go to draft express and look up: Bogut, Marc Gasol, Draymond Green. You will see scouts saying they couldn’t defend. Not until a player gets to the NBA will we really know if he can defend or not. Monroe does give you really good offense. If you draft Russell or Mudiay then Monroe is very gettable. My only concern is quickly becoming that 8 seed and never going anywhere treadmill team. Monroe, Russell, Clarkson, Randle could be that. But again we won’t know until they play together.
Kobe should just ask Jerry who he’d draft
Basketball Guru says
There is simply no denying that if the Lakers keep their #2 overall pick they should use it to draft D’angelo Russell who is the best player in the draft.. Besides all the obvious reasons mentioned in the article above for why he’s the best player in the draft, I will take it a step further by mentioning that D’angelo Russell is the best player in the draft because of not only his skill set but because of his supreme confidence, savvy, love for the game, hunger to be great, moxie and maturity.. When it comes to Karl Anthony-Towns and Jahlil Okafor, the other 2 of the Top 3 prospects, neither have shown anywhere close to the level of any of those qualities that D’angelo Russell possesses and boasts at only 19 years old. When you have a player of that caliber at 19 years old who knows he doesn’t have a whole lot of flaws in his game but you still see that he wants to do whatever it takes to get even better, you have to grab him if you have a chance at any and all opportunities possible.
I know that some people might say but he’s not a 7 footer like Towns or Okafor (Who are actually 6’11 and 6’10 respectively) and that’s very clear when it comes to Russell’s size, but I believe that if you could measure his heart, you would clearly see that Russell is far bigger than Towns or Okafor will ever be and it’s not even close. With that said, there’s no denying the talents of Towns or Okafor who clearly may become all-stars in the NBA but as I see it, Russell has the makings of a future NBA superstar written all over him and you don’t ignore that because he’s not a 7 footer.
Two of D’angelo Russell’s infamous quotes “I wouldn’t want anybody to hand me anything” “I want to work for it” #KobeBryantTypeHungerForGreatness