When you have one star player on his way out and one potential star player on his way in, you want to see the torch passed and the knowledge taught from the veteran to the young guy. With the Los Angeles Lakers hoping No. 2 overall pick D'Angelo Russell can be their next franchise player, Kobe Bryant being able to teach the ways of the NBA -- both on and off the court -- to the rookie could be paramount to Russell's development.
That's why it's a good idea to make sure Russell doesn't have to go too far in order to bend Kobe's ear. In fact, he won't have to go far at all after the rookie's request to have his locker next to Bryant's was granted by the Lakers. According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, Russell wanted to make sure he could take advantage of the opportunity to learn from Kobe without having it be weird by always needing to walk over to Bryant's locker for advice.
Before they play together in an NBA game, Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell found a practical solution that will accelerate any adjustment period with Kobe Bryant.
Russell requested to have his locker next to the Lakers’ star.
“I don’t know how much longer he’s going to be around,” said Russell, who will first practice with Bryant on Tuesday in Honolulu. “So to have the opportunity to pick his brain a little bit every day, I don’t have to make it weird by walking to his locker. I’ll just look to my right and there he is.”
On Monday, Bryant asked Russell if he felt nervous amid the expectations as the Lakers’ No. 2 draft pick.
“I said, ‘A little bit. I don’t know what’s coming my way,’” Russell recalled. “He said, ‘This is the same thing you’ve been preparing for your whole life.’ That gave me a boost.”
This is a pretty common practice around the NBA. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love had their lockers next to each other in Minnesota when the Spanish point guard came over to the NBA and they were building their chemistry, on and off the court. Chris Bosh has his locker next to Hassan Whiteside's in Miami in order to help bring him along as much as he possibly can.
Bryant and Russell sharing the same space around their lockers will lead to a seemingly infinite number of opportunities to learn the ways of the NBA. Russell won't have to go far to learn about all the times Kobe wanted the ball and felt he was open.