Well, that wasn’t what everyone was expecting when the LosAngeles Lakers headed to Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League 2015. The Lakers finished with a 1- 4 record. It wasn’t so much the record that was so disappointing as much as the performances for what is considered to be the future of the franchise. It all starts with D’Angelo Russell who had a lackluster Summer League to say the least. Laker fans expectations for the #2 overall pick where sky high. This was reflected by the TV ratings and the packed arena every time they played. Russell often did not play like the # 2 pick, it didn’t help matters that Jahlil Okafor , the player the Lakers passed on had a good Summer League averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds a game. Laker fans could only imagine how Okafor would look in purple and gold.
It’s funny how things can change so dramatically in the mind of NBA fans. When the Lakers drafted Russell, Laker Nation was for the most part ( some fans still would’ve preferred Okafor) all in with him becoming the next face of the franchise. Laker fans where envisioning Showtime 2.0 with Russell at the helm. Reports from Lakers practices leading up to Summer League where raving about Russell’s passing ability and his leadership attitude. It was all sunny in Hollywood and Russell was a fan favorite.
With Summer League now over for the Lakers, fans now find themselves with some questions and doubts about their next leading man. It wasn’t that Russell was flat out terrible, it was that Russell struggled and didn’t live up to the Summer League hype that was building up a week prior. Matters only compounded after every game because every other top pick the Lakers faced outplayed Russell. With Towns, Okafor and Porzingis leaving their perspective fan bases looking forward to the season and happy with their teams selections of them.
Laker fans need to manage expectations and not overreact to what they saw in Summer League. Russell showed flashes of what could make a great guard by showcasing his vision on some of his passes. While watching Russell in Summer League you could notice his ability to see plays developing that his teammates didn’t see and in turn resulted in turnovers. I for one can’t wait for pre-season and the season to begin and watch Russell play with some the veterans on the team instead of players who aren’t in the NBA.
Don’t fret,don’t worry, be happy Laker fans. I’s sunny outside and Russell IS the future of the Lakers and even with rough Summer League the Lakers are in good hands with Russell. Just give it time Laker Nation, D’Angelo Russell is just dloading right now.