The Los Angeles Lakers have been vocally touting their young crop of players, and that crop will be more important than ever with Kobe Bryant leaving the franchise after 20 years in purple and gold.
Apparently, Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski agrees with the Lakers' assessment of their talented youth movement.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers' two recent lottery picks, D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, have been invited to play for the USA Select Team, which competes against Team USA in warm up scrimmages during Team USA's camp ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Team USA camp traditionally takes place in Las Vegas.
Russell averaged 13.2 points, 3.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds in his rookie season, while Randle impressively averaged a double-double with 11.2 points and 10.1 rebounds in 28.0 minutes during his sophomore year in the NBA. The latter, however, only lasted one game in his rookie season before breaking his leg, so calling 2015-16 Randle's second season is a bit generous.
Practicing and playing against the premier players NBA players should provide both Lakers' youngsters with invaluble experience during the off-season. Also, being included in the group of rising stars alongside C.J. McCollum is an added benefit for the LA duo.
Looking to the future, the impression Randle and Russell make on their peers could play a vital role in attracting free agents down the line. Essentially, the opportunity afforded to the 20-year-old and the 21-year-old Lakers by joining the USA Select Team has little downside and tremendous upside.