D’Angelo Russell, the Ohio State product, continues to rank among the top three players available in the 2015 NBA Draft, scheduled for June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Among the teams closely looking at Russell is the Los Angeles Lakers, who possess the No. 2 selection.
The 19-year-old draft hopeful recently participated in open workouts with the team at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, California. After the extensive drills, Russell opened up about the potential of playing alongside Kobe Bryant and admitted that his dream actually evolves around competing against the Laker legend.
D'Angelo Russell said he actually always dreamed of "playing against Kobe" but playing with him would be both an "honor" & "pleasure."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) June 8, 2015
With the Lakers needing help at both the center and point guard positions, Russell welcomed the challenge of maturing professionlly and learning from the “Black Mamba.” He surmised that it would be a great opportunity to learn from Kobe and be influenced by the superstar’s drive to be the best. He added that if ever the opportunity presents itself, he would learn a lot from playing off the ball with the five-time NBA champion.
“Kobe’s a great, so playing with him would definitely be an honor. I saw that he said he had a few years or one year left. But I’ve always dreamed of playing against him. And then having the opportunity to play with him would be a pleasure (and) gaining all the knowledge I can gain from him,” Russell told reporters.
The winner of the 2015 Jerry West Award -- for top collegiate shooting guard -- also commented on the topic of selecting a big man over a guard in the upcoming draft, a hot subject of this year's draft. Versatile frontcourt lottery locks -- namely Duke's Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns -- continue to be the consensus top two picks in recent mock drafts. These predictions usually relegate Russell to rebuilding teams such as the New York Knicks or Philadelphia 76ers, which hold the No. 3 and No. 4 picks, respectively. Russell added that he believes draft position does not matter as long as he is placed in a situation where he can contribute.
Watch the full-length interview of Russell below: