Jordan Farmar knows what it’s like to feel the pressure of playing basketball in Los Angeles. He grew up in Woodland Hills, and starred at Taft High School before moving on to UCLA. Following a stellar college career, he was selected by the Lakers with the 26th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, allowing him to continue playing in the city of Angels.
Farmar would end up playing two stints for the Lakers (2006-2010, 2013-2014) and helped bring home two championships during that time. Given that Los Angeles can be laser-focused on their Lakers (and UCLA, for that matter), Farmar understands better than most what it’s like to have the eyes of Los Angeles on you.
Now, with Farmar plying his trade in Israel, there is a new young point guard that seems poised to rule the city: D’Angelo Russell. The second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft has struggled so far with injuries and adapting to the NBA game, as his Summer League play featured an endless string of turnovers (5.2 per game) and his lone full preseason game was solid, but not spectacular.
Farmar, in a recent interview with Shlomo Sprung of SheridanHoops.com, had this advice for Russell:
“Just be ready for the bright lights, man. There are going to be high expectations every game, so just play your game, do what got you here.”
It is indeed going to be critical that Russell is able to do what got him to the NBA. During his sole year at Ohio State, the young guard was able to catapult himself from relative obscurity into the upper echelon of the NBA Draft by demonstrating an impressive shooting touch, great handle, and an unworldly ability to pass the ball. It was these qualities, plus Russell’s natural leadership ability, that caught the eye of the Lakers brass and caused them to select him over consensus favorite Jahlil Okafor.
It’s going to be years before the Lakers know if they made the right decision in banking on Russell’s potential over Okafor’s polished interior game, but Lakers fans will certainly be pulling for the dynamic young guard. As Farmar could surely tell anyone, while the lights of Los Angeles can be bright, there is nothing like winning in a Lakers uniform.