The Los Angeles Lakers short stint in Santa Barbara for training camp has come to an end. The team filled with young players on the rise and seasoned veterans will now head back to Los Angeles to prepare for their first preseason game on Oct. 4 with D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle looking to lead the way.
Following the conclusion of camp in Santa Barbara, Russell talked about how Randle is pivotal in motivating the team with his energy, via Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com.
“I preach to Julius every day, man,” Russell said. “It starts with him. Nance is going to bring it. He’s known for that. But it starts with Julius. When Julius brought his energy, everybody’s energy and intensity went up, including myself. I want it to be known that it starts with him.”
As the beginning of the 2016-17 NBA season draws near, it appears Randle and Russell are assuming the leadership roles on this young team. Although the Lakers brought in Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov, and have Lou Williams back for the next two years, the talented duo is stepping up and trying to live up to expectations with Kobe Bryant now enjoying retirement.
The real test for these two talented young players will be in the regular season when facing adversity and some of the elite teams in the Western Conference from week to week.
D’Angelo has impressed head coach Luke Walton during camp while Randle may have also taken some strides in securing the starting job at power forward, but there’s a long way to go before seeing if this team and new coaching staff is ready to turn the corner.