Los Angeles Lakers Season Preview: Brandon Ingram, D'Angelo Russell Ready to Take Over

By Jeff Villanueva, Posted: 10/03/16 02:03PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers sophomore D'Angelo Russell and rookie Brandon Ingram are out to make a statement this coming season. With Kobe Bryant finally retired, these two promising youngsters need to help out Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle in bringing the glory back to the purple and gold country.

As what Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak believes, the basketball gods bestowed Russell and Ingram the talents. Now all the two need to do is nurture them and put these talents to good use.

D'Angelo Russell in Full Control

Playing alongside now retired Kobe Bryant and Clarkson, Russell was relegated to a mere spectator last season. Russell was able to manage a decent 13.2 points and 3.3 assists per game, and even started in 48 of his 80 games.

And now that Clarkson will fully asume the shooting guard post with Bryant gone, Russell will finally be able to show his ball handling skills all throughout the season. The Lakers also have talented big men on the roster and all Russell needs to do is feed the ball to them. It's a lot easier said than done but could succeed if they stick to Luke Walton's system.

Brandon Ingram Rookie and Sixth Man of the Year Candidate?

Many basketball analysts believe that Brandon Ingram may be the next Kevin Durant. However, with veteran Luol Deng expected to become part of the starting lineup, Ingram is relegated as the second option at small forward. It doesn't mean Ingram's role is lesser, as it might be the best option Walton would want for his ward.

 Ingram could lead the Lakers' second team composed of either be Marcelo Huertas or Jose Calderon at the point, Lou Williams at shooting guard, Larry Nance Jr. at power forward, and either Yi Jianlian or rookie Ivica Zubac at center. This also gives Ingram a better chance to become only the second rookie to get the Sixth Man of the Year award after Ben Gordon of the Chicago Bulls.

With this year's top draft pick, Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons, expected to be out for at least three months, there's a big chance Ingram might get the Rookie of the Year award as well. Simmons sustained a foot injury that could eventually force him to miss the entire 2016-17 season, depending on how his foot will react to the surgery and rehabilitation.

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