With the retirement of Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers have shifted over into full rebuild mode. One of the primary players of that movement is guard D’Angelo Russell. In a recent interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Russell set a lofty goal for his team this upcoming season.
“Everyone knows it’s a rebuilding process, it’s going to take some time. But it’s up to us to make it happen right away, if we want it to happen right away we can do it. I feel like could make the playoffs this year, I feel like we could be a team to sneak some wins against some top teams in the league that they weren’t expecting us to win. The last few years we weren’t able to do that.
“It’s going to be a fun year, I’m really excited for it.”
Russell is certainly confident in his ability despite the Lakers currently being in the longest playoff drought in franchise history. Los Angeles does appear to have the right young pieces in place with Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram. They also have in place a young head coach in Luke Walton, who fully embraces how the modern NBA is played with uptempo offenses emphasizing the 3-point shot and small-ball lineups.
The Lakers got off to a strong start to the season on Wednesday night with a 120-114 win over the Houston Rockets. They shot over 50 percent from the field while getting 20-plus point performances from Russell and Clarkson. There’s no telling how improved Los Angeles will be this season, but it’s safe to say they will be one of the more exciting young teams this year.