It’s a big challenge, but Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell appears ready

first_imgThe new face of the Lakers isn’t the big-bodied center many were expecting them to draft last week. He’ll never be the focal point of a dominating low-post offense or the rim-protecting defender the Lakers must soon acquire to truly lift themselves back into championship contention. In that way, D’Angelo Russell bears little resemblance to the foundation the Lakers have typically laid to create championship runs.• Video: Lakers introduce 2015 Draft PicksBut say this much for the 6-foot-5 Ohio State point guard the Lakers staked so much of their future on when they defied conventional wisdom — and their own history — by drafting him second overall. He doesn’t lack for confidence.He has a keen sense of history.And when it comes to understanding the importance of appeasing and tapping into the greatest resource the Lakers can offer him at this point in his young career, Lakers fans can only hope he runs a fast break as beautifully as he explained the relationship he hopes to create with one Kobe Bryant.“I’m a sponge,” Russell told Bryant when the youngest Lakers spoke Sunday with the oldest. “Whatever he’s willing to teach me, I’m willing to learn.”Such as? “Everything,” he told the overflow media crowd gathered Monday for the introductory press conference welcoming Russell, fellow first-round pick Larry Nance Jr. and second-round pick Anthony Brown.• Video: Analyzing 2015 draft and possible free agents The Lakers hope three rookies supply a significant part of the fuel they’ll use to power their next championship run, but clearly it is Russell who needs to emerge as their next great superstar.If confidence means anything, he’s ready to embrace that responsibility.“I consider myself to be the best player in the draft,” Russell declared.If ever the Lakers needed that kind of swagger, it’s right now.This wasn’t arrogance, though.Russell was merely responding to the knock on him he wasn’t regarded as one of the top athletes in the draft.After putting up a per-game stat line of 19.3 points, five assists and five rebounds, you get the feeling Russell values production over style points.If that means jumping out of the gym — or not — who cares?“If that means being the best athlete or the best non-athlete. I just plan to get the job done,” Russell said, assuredly.And while the pressure of being the second pick in the draft is obvious enough to the Ohio State product, it’s compounded when it’s the proudest franchise in all of basketball identifying him as the player they expect to lead them out of the darkness.Welcome to the NBA, rookie.Now lead the Purple and Gold back to the Promise Land.Bring it on, Russell says.“They’re not used to getting a top-five pick,” he said.. “The expectations are there.”And if he needed any reminders what he’s getting himself into — he doesn’t — they came on the form of all those championship trophies staring down at him from the second-floor office at the Lakers’ El Segundo facility.And all those championship banners and retired numbers hanging from the walls.Not to mention the handful of times “Showtime” was mentioned relative to the vibe the Lakers and their fans hope to recreate with the electrifying Russell running an entertaining, high-octane offense.“Showtime usually comes with winning,” he astutely pointed out, reminding everyone the proper protocol that comes with cultivating an image.In other words, nicknames are meaningless if they aren’t coined with something of substance backing them up. “When we get the winning going, the rest will follow,” Russell said. “And that’s when the fun will come along.”The maturity defied the birth certificate.The measured, confident practicality brought back memories of past Lakers superstars — the Jerry Wests, Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, Magic Johnsons and Bryants all share a healthy belief in themselves — and will be the rock he and the Lakers lean on through the difficult process they face re-building up a championship portfolio.But it’s everything he brings to the court that will ultimately decide whether the Lakers drove the fastball the ping-pong ball gods served up to them deep into the outfield pavilion for a home run or simply drove it off the wall for a double.The Lakers can live with the latter — at least for a few years considering the miserable hole they’ve fallen into the last few years.But for them to regain their footing as one of the great teams in the NBA, they need Russell to be the former.And that would mean the mesmerizing all-around game Russell flashed during his one year at Ohio State in which he shot, passed and rebounded his way onto the national scene, translating to the biggest stage in the world.It means the passing ability Louisville coach Rick Pitino compared to Magic Johnson being the real deal, and not just hyperbole from a college coach.It means the effortless shooting ability that makes you think Steph Curry carrying over to Staples Center.And it means the poise, confidence and swagger he displayed throughout his freshman season — and flashed over and over and over during his first official work day in Los Angeles — being the norm we can expect from Russell as he grabs hold of the Lakers and leads them back to greatness.That’s a whole lot of pressure to throw on a 19-year-old kid barely a year removed from his high school graduation.But you get this sense Russell is up to that challenge.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Sumner County Farm Bureau to hold legislative coffee on Saturday at 10 a.m.

first_imgSumner Newscow report — Sumner County Farm Bureau Association will be sponsoring a legislative coffee.  It will be held on Saturday, March 12, at 10 a.m. at the Wellington Daylight Donut Shop.  Sen. Steve Abrams, Rep. Kyle Hoffman, and Rep. Kasha Kelley are planning on attending.  Coffee and doughnuts will be provided.  Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more