With the All-Star weekend just a few weeks away, the Los Angeles Lakers will have a pair of participants in the Rising Stars challenged with second-year guard D’Angelo Russell and rookie forward Brandon Ingram both being selected for the event.
They are two of the 10 American first and second-year players selected by the league’s assistant coaches to participate in the game. The duo joins a long list of Lakers previously selected to take part in the contest that includes Russell and Jordan Clarkson (2016), Andrew Bynum (2007), Kobe Bryant (1997), Derek Fisher (1997), Travis Knight (1997), Eddie Jones (1995, selected MVP), and Nick Van Exel (1994).
In last year’s game, Russell put on a strong performance scoring 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including going 4-of-7 from 3-point range, along with seven assists in 16 minutes played. Clarkson finished with 25 points on 8-of-20 shooting, including 4-of-14 from 3-point range, with five assists, four rebounds, and four steals in 24 minutes played.
Despite dealing with injuries this season, Russell is averaging 14.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. He has notched eight 20-point outings along with tying former Laker Jodie Meeks for the longest streak of games with three or more steals (three).
According to Bill Oram of the Orange County Register, the 20-year-old is expected to return to the court in time for All-Star weekend. He is currently sidelined for one to two weeks with a mild right MCL sprain, a right calf strain, and a bone bruise that he suffered against the Indiana Pacers last Friday.
Ingram is averaging 8.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. He leads the Lakers in minutes this season and has appeared in all 50 games, including 14 starts at three different positions. He also tops all rookies in minutes per game (28.0).
The 19-year-old has seen progressive improvement as the season has worn on as he has seven of 16 double-digit outputs this year in the month of January. This includes a career-long four-game stretch of notching double figures while tying his career-best 17 points twice during that span.
He had also narrowly missed becoming the youngest player to record a triple-double with nine points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 17. that would have topped four-time league MVP LeBron James for that mark.
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Bob Garcia IV
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