On Monday, USA Basketball began its training camp in Las Vegas ahead of the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and the start of training camp meant that a trio of Los Angeles Lakers took part in the practice.
Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram, who the Lakers selected with their lottery picks in each of the past three seasons, all accepted invites to be a part of the USA Select team. The USA Select Team is coached by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and practices against the United States’ Olympics time.
So, Monday offered the first chance to see the heart of the Lakers’ young core working together. First, the USA Select team took part in a separated practice in the Cox Pavilion, which neighbors Team USA’s Mendenhall Center practice court.
Then, the USA Select team joined Team USA and scrimmaged behind closed doors for the better part of an hour. When media was allowed into the facility, the USA Select team had separated into two teams, as had Team USA.
Russell, Randle and Ingram all played on the same unit, which had also been the case in the USA Select practice. The Lakers’ young core lined up against a selection from the Team USA squad that featured Draymond Green, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Paul George and DeAndre Jordan. Needless to say, the Lakers’ youth is lining up against All-Stars and learning from the best player in the NBA.
After the practice wrapped up, a collection of Team USA guard had gathered at one half court to work on one-on-one drills: Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Lowry, DeRozan and Harrison Barnes were taking turns going one-on-one in heated, competitive battles.
Suddenly, Russell made his way over and began to take part in the drills with the senior members of the squad. Eventually, Randle took his teammate’s lead and joined the group. Jabari Parker of the Milwaukee Bucks also made his way over.
At one point, Russell beat Randle, Barnes and Irving in consecutive possessions. Randle, though, had his fair share of success, when he muscled past Russell, shot over Parker and barely rimmed out over Irving.
All in all, Monday appeared to be an eventful day at USA Basketball camp in Las Vegas, and the trio of Lakers seemed like they enjoyed the competition and had the opportunity to test their talents at a higher level.