Some grow up wanting to play like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or another of the NBA’s biggest stars, but D’Angelo Russell wanted to be like Manu Ginobili.
In an article from ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, the Los Angeles Lakers point guard says Ginobili was one of his favorite players growing up, and he models his game after the San Antonio Spurs swingman.
“See, it’s different when you ask who your favorite player was. You can say those American guys who made their name, like Kobe and Allen Iverson and Shaq and all those types of guys,” he said. “But I really look at it and say, if I could model my game after somebody [it would be Ginobili].”
What did Russell admire about Ginobili?
“… Manu was never as athletic, but he could really pass the ball. He could score the ball, and he was just so unpredictable, and he was a lefty, so he was a player that I really prided myself on being.”
Russell, in his second season, is improving as a scorer and a passer. Last season, the second overall pick averaged 13.2 points and 3.3 assists in 80 games, including 48 starts. This season, Russell is averaging 16.8 points and 4.7 assists as a starter. He is learning to become one of the primary scorers on the Lakers while trying to find his teammates.