The Los Angeles Lakers had an impressive summer league this year winning, three of five games, and had some memorable performances from their core players. One of the more impressive ones was from their starting point guard, D’Angelo Russell.

From his buzzer-beating three-pointer to win a game for the Lakers, to his new-found leadership qualities, Russell has had a very good offseason so far. Now, his confidence is at an all-time high, and the whole coaching staff expects him to show this this coming season.

During his appearance on LA Today with Bill Reiter and Leeann Tweeden last Friday, new head coach Luke Walton had high praise for the 20-year-old sophomore. Walton had this to say about his summer performance:

“He’s been absolutely phenomenal for us. He’s been a leader, he’s been talking in practice and trying to constantly pick the coaches brains about what we see.

“He’s in the gym every morning before we even got to Summer League working out, then coming back at night and working out. His work ethic and his desire to play the way we want him to play, and his competitive nature have been incredible in the short amount of time that me and my staff have been down here.”

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With the Lakers now in full rebuild mode after Kobe Bryant‘s retirement, there is no question that Russell is a key piece in their quest to be a relevant team once again and compete in the highly competitive Western Conference. After making huge strides this summer, the former second overall pick in last year’s draft is looking to put questions about his work ethic and ability to be a leader on the floor all behind him and prove his worth to the team.

The Lakers may still have a long road ahead of them before possibly achieving the success their franchise is used to getting, but with the much improved D’Angelo Russell, together with other members of the young core including Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, along with rookies Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac, the future’s definitely looking bright in Hollywood.

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