As the second overall pick for the Los Angeles Lakers, there was a ton of pressure on D’Angelo Russell coming into this season. Russell has the potential to be the next great Lakers superstar, and many expected to see evidence of that immediately.
Russell, however, struggled out of the gate and that, coupled with the early success of fellow rookies Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis, made some question whether the Lakers made the right choice in the draft.
Recently, Russell has improved his play and shown more flashes of his potential. In an interview with Mike Trudell on Lakers.com, Russell revealed that he actually prefers to be a late bloomer and had some words for his detractors:
I’d always rather be a late bloomer at anything I do. I don’t want to be great right away. I love the process. I love when people say, ‘You suck! You’re a bust!’ I love that. Because whether it’s months or years, whatever it takes, best believe they’ll be thinking about those words they said a while ago.
Russell reminisced about being a slow starter in both high school and college before becoming comfortable with his situation and becoming a leader. In high school, that meant winning two national championships while being named a consensus First Team All-American in college.
Russell is already showing signs of becoming more comfortable as December has been his best month so far, averaging 13.1 points and 3.7 assists while also increasing his aggressiveness. Even though he has an extreme amount of pressure on him, he has never seemed fazed by it and seems intent on proving his doubters wrong, which is the perfect attitude to have.