Two members of the Lakers young core plus the potential #2 pick were selected to the USA Select team. This is terrific news for them, but might be bad for some Laker fans
After an up and down year filled with controversy and strife, the Lakers and their fans continue to get more and more great news, as if a curse was lifted with the incredible Kobe finale. Byron was let go, Luke Walton was hired, and the #2 pick was kept by a franchise that looks to be on its way back up to prominence, finally. More good news was handed down today by the USA Basketball team:
Selected for the 2016 USA Basketball Select squad were: Malcolm Brogdon (University of Virginia); Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit Pistons); Willie Cauley-Stein (Sacramento Kings); Kris Dunn (Providence College);Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic); Jerami Grant (Philadelphia 76ers); Gary Harris(Denver Nuggets); Rodney Hood (Utah Jazz); Brandon Ingram (Duke University);Brice Johnson (University of North Carolina), Stanley Johnson (Detroit Pistons);Zach LaVine (Minnesota Timberwolves); CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers); Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls); Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets); Jahlil Okafor(Philadelphia 76ers); Jabari Parker (Milwaukee Bucks); Julius Randle (Los Angeles Lakers); D’Angelo Russell (Los Angeles Lakers); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Denzel Valentine (Michigan State University); Justise Winslow (Miami Heat) and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets).
*please note there is 1 other player missing from this group, but I refuse to put a player that players for a certain green and white team. Note his last name rhymes with art.
As you can see, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell were both selected the USA select squad. Also selected is the Lakers most likely #2 pick Brandon Ingram. Though it’s highly unlikely that any of these players make the trip to Rio this summer for the Olympics, just be selected alone shows that the talent is recognized. Many players have gained invaluable experience playing for the select team. The select team is also known as a tryout for the next time the USA National team calls for players. Most importantly, the young players get to talk and practice with the biggest super stars in the game today like Durant, Thompson, Green, and Irving.
Russell and Randle have already been hard at work in the gym almost from the moment they walked out of the exit interviews. Russell currently over in China with the NBA tour stated yesterday to Broderick Turner Via the LA Times:
Russell paused to let a question about how much he trains in China sink in, his tone turning serious.
“Every day. … Every day,” Russell said. “I actually said I wasn’t going to take this trip if I couldn’t. The only other place I’ve been to out of the country is Mexico, and China is my second place. So I didn’t want to go if I couldn’t get the time in the gym.”
The possible future super star continues to impress this off-season, as his workouts continue to show how much he has improved his skills and his body overall. See him here from his Instagram working with Robbie Haught:
Randle has also been hard at work, though Randle is much more closed off in terms what he puts out on social media. According to Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) via ESPNLA 710:
“I’ve seen Randle in the Lakers practice facility just about every day”
As for Brandon Ingram, it’s not unusual to be selected before you even play a single NBA game, however it still is an honor nonetheless. Ingram has also been hard at work this off-season trying to improve his game and also bulk himself up. As reported earlier by yours truly, Ingram plans to have a workout on Thursday and a dinner with the Lakers brass on Wednesday. The almost certain future Laker forward will get the opportunity of a lifetime by having a chance to work out with some of the NBA’s best, including the player most people compare him to, Kevin Durant. Here is a pre-draft workout courtesy of Draft Express:
Now you ask, well how in the world could this be bad for Laker fans? In the long run it isn’t, it’s actually awesome overall. However in the short term for those who have already booked their hotel rooms and flights, the US select team start their workouts with the national team on July 18th. Summer League in Las Vegas ends July 18th. It may be tough for Randle, who was already up in the air about Summer League, Russell and Ingram to all participate in Summer League and fulfill their obligation with the Select team. With new coach and a new system, it might be very important for the young Lakers to get a head start by participating in summer league. The good news is that both Summer League and the USA basketball practicing will be held in Las Vegas. So it is very easy to see the young players transition from Summer League and essential stay in Vegas for the USA practice. In the end, of course, it is up to the players what they will do overall.
Please note that Jordan Clarkson has made a commitment to play on the Filipino national squad. Even though he is half American he is also Filipino and honorably made the choice to play for them. I firmly believe if he had not made the commitment to them he would also be on this team.
I also implore Laker fans to keep an eye on Malcom Brogdon. He has a very good chance of falling to the Lakers for their 32nd pick and this could potentially seal the deal if he does fall that low.
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