The five-time NBA champion in a series of tweets on Monday afternoon revealed that he will take the Lakers’ young guard under his wing.
In my meeting with D’Angelo Russell, he picked my brain about the PG position and I’m looking forward to working out with him this summer!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 1, 2016
Laker Nation: I’m looking forward to being a mentor to D’Angelo Russell on and off the court.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 2, 2016
Russell is coming off a rookie season that had plenty of ups and down. There were high expectations thrust upon him from the get-go after he was selected with the No.2 pick in the draft ahead of Jahlil Okafor, who many had thought was a shoe-in selection for the Lakers because of their rich history of dominant big men.
The 20-year-old struggled through the first month of the season and was benched by then-head coach Byron Scott after the first 20 games. However, he saw some vast improvement in his individual performance as the season wore on with his field goal percentage increasing in the first two months of 2016 shooting 43.7 percent in January and 45.9 percent in February.
When he returned to the starting lineup after the All-Star break, he was an offensive spark posting nine 20-plus and two 30-plus point scoring performances, including notching a career-high 39 points against the Brooklyn Nets. This made him just the third Lakers’ rookie to score 39 points in a single game, and just the second in league history to do so with at least eight made 3-pointers.
Russell became the youngest player in NBA history to make 120-plus 3-pointers in a single season. He is also the youngest rookie in league history to make at least 120 three-pointers in a single season and one of only 20 players to achieve that feat. He finished tied with Tim Hardaway for 15th all-time with 130 three-pointers made in a rookie season.
That said, there was also a huge internal team conflict in the final two weeks of the season due to a video incident that involved him recording teammate Nick Young during a private conversation between both players. This led to several teammates shunning Russell due to the situation.
This makes the opportunity to learn the ins and out from one of the game’s greatest players a potential step in the right direction for his career both on and off the court.