After a relatively mediocre rookie campaign during the 2015-16 NBA season, no player currently on the Los Angeles Lakers roster has more to prove next season than D’Angelo Russell. As if reaching his potential wasn’t enough of a driving force for Russell heading into the offseason, the backlash the Nick Young incident and the results of the NBA’s Rookie of the Year voting may have added more fuel to the fire for the 20-year-old point guard.
Although Russell’s work ethic has been questioned by head coach Byron Scott, the Ohio State product isn’t wasting any time during the offseason to improve his game. Russell has teamed up with head trainer Robbie Haught of Cleveland Basketball School in an attempt to polish his skills over the summer.
Russell and Haught have posted a few videos on Instagram to show some of the drills the two have been working on during their recent workout sessions. D’Angelo posted the following video of a ball-handling drill with Haught on Monday:
Haught took to Instagram a few days ago with a video of the two working on a shooting drill with Russell hitting a few fadeaway jumpers in the post. An offensive weapon Kobe Bryant perfected in his 20 years with the team and something Russell can use to his advantage against smaller guards next season and for many years to come:
Along with already getting back to work on the basketball floor with Haught helping him along the way, the Lakers guard has another mentor to help take his game to the next level over the coming months both on and off the floor.
Russell recently reached out to Laker legend Magic Johnson for guidance once his rookie season was officially over. Magic met up with D’Angelo for a lunch meeting and appeared to be impressed with the 20-year-old’s desire to soak up the knowledge from the five-time NBA champion. As a result, Johnson has agreed to mentor Russell moving forward and plans to workout with the rising star at some point during the summer.
With Russell back to work with Haught and potentially learning tricks of the trade while building a valuable relationship with Magic, the former Buckeye seems to be taking the right steps to improve his game across the board during the offseason. He’ll have a great chance to see where he stacks up with other top young players when he and Julius Randle work out for the USA Select Team.
The results of Russell’s offseason work may be put on display in Las Vegas come July 8 when the NBA Summer League gets underway.