Brandon Ingram Holds Lakers’ Spotlight, but D’Angelo Russell Holds the Future

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — This moment belongs to Brandon Ingram.

Eventually, the moment will again belong to the guy who was the Los Angeles Lakers' No. 2 overall pick only a year ago.

After repeated free-agency failures and the decline of the Kobe Bryant era, the Lakers have backed into a very interesting crew of young players whose best-case scenario is developing together.

The key to that scenario is someone to make everybody better, be a unifying force and conduct the orchestra.

Someone just like the D'Angelo Russell praised by Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak at this time a year ago: "His ability to understand the game, see the floor, make a play, display leadership characteristics…I think that's his gift."

Russell, 20, is more motivated than ever to prove himself now that most of the world knows him as a "rat" or "snitch" following his embarrassing cellphone recording of Nick Young last season.

Already, Russell is working like crazy toward next season, especially in the weight room. He's a confident kid who is well equipped to deal with adversity, having spent his entire life trying to prove himself to his big brother.

He's also openly yearning to soak up every drop of knowledge and freedom offered by new Lakers coach Luke Walton, inundating Walton with questions about the steps Stephen Curry took in the past two years.

Russell's insensitivity about his prank gone awry regarding Young's love life is obvious. In what has amounted to an amazing testament to the power of social media today, Russell has been stigmatized for his social transgression. Now he's trying to deflect the attention with a new lighthearted Foot Locker commercial about it.

It's easy to forget that Russell's basketball upside is comparable to Ingram's, but that's what can happen when you are marginalized by Byron Scott's tough love and overshadowed by Bryan...

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