"All three of us, nobody really knows who we are," Los Angeles Lakers no. 2 draft pick D'Angelo Russell said as he sat on stage next to no. 27 pick Larry Nance and no. 34 pick Anthony Brown. "We're rookies."
Joining the Los Angeles Lakers and drawing comparisons to Earvin "Magic" Johnson from Lakers coach Byron Scott before even landing in LA, however, promises that Russell will be known sooner rather than later.
Not all too surprising, Russell attracted the majority of the questions and provided the bulk of the answers on Monday. Southern California kid Anthony Brown seemed the most elated and genuinely giddy of the trio, as the Ocean View High School kid grew up a fan of the Lakers and promised to provide history lessons to his fellow rookies.
Larry Nance came into the press conference with his shoulders a tad bit lighter after Kobe Bryant texted the kid and told him that he had gotten past the ill-advised tweet Nance sent out in 2012. Nance used "#Rapist" in that three-year-old tweet, but Bryant had since publicly and privately told the Ohio native that it was "water under the bridge."
Still, Nance insisted on referring to Bryant as "Mr. Bryant" and promised to call him "sir" until told to do otherwise by the 20-year veteran. When asked if he was scared of reaching out to Bryant to apologize, Nance responded, "Terrified," which led to laughter from the assembled media and family members.
As is often the case in large press conferences with multiple folks sitting on stage, the answers did not exactly provoke headline material. Instead, the headline was that the three rookies had landed in LA and all three appeared anxious to get going on their NBA careers.
The NBA Summer League provides the trio of youngsters its first challenge with the Lakers. Russell said he looked forward to the coaching and responding to instructions, Brown said he wanted to work on spacing the floor and Nance wished to highlight his energy in the early July games in Las Vegas.
Ultimately, Russell's high draft pick made him the main attraction. Given his extensive skill set and his 6-foot 5-inch height, the man of the hour was asked if he was more of a passing point guard or shooting guard. The 19-year-old insisted that he was not one of the other: "I consider myself a basketball player."
Russell added, "I consider myself the top basketball player in the draft."