Beyond the annual all-access NBA rookie photo shoot, NBA.com also conducted its seventh rookie survey where incoming players are polled about a series of NBA-related topics which ranged from predicting the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year to guessing which rookie might ultimately have the best NBA career to which current players remain the most popular amongst the incoming class.
Second overall pick D’Angelo Russell’s name appeared within several categories, but perhaps the most impressive result was related to his fellow incoming rookies’ expectations of superior playmaking from the 19-year-old passing savant. 40 percent of rookies polled believe Russell will be the top playmaker of the group:
1. D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers — 40.0 percent
2. Tyus Jones, Minnesota — 17.1 percent
3. Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver — 14.3 percent
4. Delon Wright, Toronto — 8.6 percent
T-5. Cameron Payne, Oklahoma City — 5.7 percent
Joseph Young, Indiana — 5.7 percent
In a recent edition of After Dark With Rick Fox, Fox essentially asked Russell whether he has aspirations of being a “great Laker” and if he understood the magnitude of this opportunity moving forward.
“You have to…So much success has been through this whole organization’” Russell told Fox. “These guys are not used to losing, so me being a top draft pick, that’s not the norm, either. So, for me to come in as a top draft pick, there’s a lot of hype and standards that I have to live up to. But more importantly, I have to bond with my teammates and get that chemistry to where we’re winning, because that’s the most important thing when you’re a Laker,” Russell concluded.
These comments have to be encouraging for fans of the ‘purple and gold’ as they continue to embark on this rebuilding effort. If the past couple Finals winners have taught rebuilding teams anything, it’s that chemistry and unity can be some of the greatest determining factors of overall success.