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    Photo courtesy LA Lakers Facebook Page
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    D’Angelo Russell is definitely the Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard of the future.

    He’s not, however, the Lakers’ PG of the past.  

    “Let’s make this very clear: Russell is not Magic Johnson,” L.A. coach Byron Scott reportedly said late last week. “Magic came on the scene, and instantly he’s a Hall-of-Famer. D’Angelo has a way to go, there’s no doubt about that.”

    Scott’s comments came on the heels of Russell’s somewhat disappointing performance in the Las Vegas Summer League, which concluded Monday night. The 6-foot-5 point guard (four inches shorter than the Lakers’ legendary dime-dropper who led the “Showtime” teams to five NBA titles in the 1980s) and Louisville native, who was the No. 2 pick in last month’s NBA Draft after one outstanding season at Ohio State University, averaged 11.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 30 minutes in five games (all of which he started) for the Lakers, who went 1-4 in those games. And although he showed off some of the slick passing skills he exhibited for the Buckeyes, Russell also averaged 5.2 turnovers per game.

    “Sometimes when you come out here and you’re the No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 pick, you expect to come out here and tear the league up,” Scott told the Los Angeles Times. “When guys kind of eat your lunch every now and then, it brings you back down to earth and lets you know that you still have a long way to go. In the long run, this might be the best thing that ever happened to him.”

    Russell, considered one of the top shooters in this year’s draft, struggled in that regard in Vegas. He shot just 37.7 percent from the field, including only 11.8 percent (2 for 17) from 3-point range, and 68.8 percent from the free throw line.

    He did, though, save his best summer league game (scoring-wise anyway) for his last. Russell put on a James Harden-esque performance in the Lakers’ 84-78 loss to Utah last Friday, tallying 21 points on a variety of jump shots.

    Despite his ups and downs in Sin City, though, Russell will almost assuredly be the Lakers’ starting point guard when they open the season. He’ll likely be playing alongside second-year shooting guard Jordan Clarkson, who averaged 16.8 ppg in the Vegas Summer League, while Kobe Bryant transitions to small forward. With L.A. in rebuilding mode, though, Russell should have free reign (or as much as Bryant gives him), so Scott will probably let him play through his fair share of mistakes. That should make for some exciting moments, and probably a highlight or two, next season.

    Russell may not be Magic, but he likely will bring some magic to the Lakers’ attack.

    Photo courtesy LA Lakers Facebook Page

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