The Los Angeles Lakers under-performed terribly last season. They only won 21 games throughout last season, setting a franchise-low win record for the second consecutive season. The team struggled due to lack of talent and a host of injuries.
This season, Lakers’ management is determined to bounce back. They picked point guard D’Angelo Russell out of Ohio in the second overall pick of the NBA Draft.
Russell in a recent interview sounded confident about his new team’s comeback this season from the status of second worst team of the Western Conference. The Lakers have also acquired Lou Williams and Roy Hibbert in the offseason trade.
“Expectations are high,” Russell said, “but this Lakers squad will most definitely be a playoff team.”
Russell also expressed his ambition of winning the rookie of the year award. “Of course,” Russell said. “I have been grinding all summer to put myself in that position.”
The young point guard is also happy to see his growing fanbase after joining the Los Angeles based outfit.
“I feel the love from fans already,” Russell told Basketball Insiders via CAA. “My fan base has grown enormously, starting with draft night. My social media following [which is now over 211,300 Twitter followers] has gone up a lot since being drafted by the Lakers.”
Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson and Mitch Kupchak have also expressed their hopes that the Lakers will be featuring in the Western Conference playoffs. The Lakers last entered the post-season phase in 2013 but ended in a disappointing run.
Russell’s high level of confidence is similar to Kobe Bryant’s mentality which was a key to his prolonged career at Lakers.