Los Angeles Lakers: 3 Best draft picks of 2010s

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(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
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1. D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State, 2015 Draft

The story of D’Angelo Russell and his time with the Los Angeles Lakers is a Hollywood movie in itself.

Drafted 2nd overall by the Lakers in 2015, D’Angelo was brought in to be the point guard of the future for a team that had not relied on a point guard playmaker since the days of Magic Johnson.

Russell on paper had it all. He has a silky smooth jump shot that looked effortless, he was a fantastic playmaker capable of dishing outrageous assists on a nightly basis. He also had the length and height to play both guard positions easily.

The pick was met with some confusion as it was widely considered that the Lakers would take Duke Center Jahlil Okafor instead of Russell. The right choice in hindsight.

Russell’s rookie season with the Lakers started slowly, he did not gel with former Lakers head coach Byron Scott who questioned his work ethic and attitude, at times comparing Russell to a pre-teen.

Russell while not playing amazing basketball, did show an ability to score, rebound and assist the ball.

However, during the course of the season, Russell landed himself in hot water with his teammate Nick Young.

Having recorded Swaggy P talking about being with other women while he was engaged to rapper Iggy Azalea, Russell’s trust amongst his teammates was eroding as questions about whether he could be trusted rose.

For a young man barely 20 to be put under this amount of scrutiny was cruel. A giant lapse in judgment on Russell’s part led to his career with the Lakers being on a knife’s edge.

Upon Jim Buss’ and Mitch Kupchak‘s firing and Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson’s hiring, any allegiance between Russell and the front office no longer existed.

Spotting an opportunity to clear cap space for a superstar, Pelinka, and Johnson traded Russell to the Brooklyn Nets.

Russell showed what he was really made of in his 1st full season with the Nets averaging 21.1ppg, 7.0apg, and 3.9rpg. This earned Russell his 1st all-star appearance.

This season with the Golden State Warriors, Russell has been consistently getting buckets for a team that has been hit incredibly hard with the injury bug. Russell has been putting up a healthy 23.2ppg, 6.0apg, and 3.4rpg. While he has suffered some minor injuries this season forcing him to miss some time, the future looks extremely bright for the former 2nd overall draft pick.

Russell has the potential to be one of the best combo guards in the NBA going forward. With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson as his teammates, Russell has the chance to learn from some of the best shooters in the world, if he can continue to add weapons to his arsenal, Russell will be a multiple-time All-Star.

He would have been incredible to have this season for the purple and gold as his ability to score, play make as well as take over the game would be incredibly valuable.

Some efforts were made by the Lakers this offseason to try and get Russell back to Staples, however, a sign and trade between the Nets and Warriors didn’t allow for that to happen.

With all this being said, the Lakers over the last number of years have shown that they are able to draft extremely well.

Next. 15 Greatest Draft Steals In Lakers Franchise History. dark

Credit needs to be given to the likes of Jesse Buss and Ryan West who have spearheaded the scouting department for the Lakers over the last decade. While Ryan West has moved on, Jesse Buss still remains and is a key part of the Lakers organization.

Here is hoping that the Lakers can find some hidden gems in the draft moving forward.