While the development of the team’s young players was a priority for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2015-16, it ended up taking a back seat when Lakers legend Kobe Bryant announced that it would be his last season in the league.
The focus turned to Bryant as he was honored in every city he played in, and as Bryant did all throughout his career he shot the ball at will throughout the season, averaging a team high 16.9 field goal attempts per game, which is three more attempts per game than the next highest Lakers player Jordan Clarkson.
It will be tough to not see Bryant in a Lakers uniform anymore, but now with him gone the focus of the organization can return to the development of the young nucleus, which is now a year older.
At Lakers Media Day on Monday second-year point guard D’Angelo Russell talked about how the vibe on the team is different now with Bryant no longer here, via Greg Beacham of the Associated Press:
DLo: "There's a different vibe here now. There's a lot of young guys. It's not all about Kobe anymore." pic.twitter.com/SdNRwSKKwb
— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) September 26, 2016
In his rookie season Russell averaged 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 41 percent from the field.
As the starting point guard he figures to be one of the team’s leaders this season as he continues to elevate his game and make players better around him.
He, along with the team’s other young players and first-year coach Luke Walton have been working out at the team’s practice in recent months so they will have a head start heading into training camp in Santa Barbara.