From the rolling hills of Burbank, to the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles’ hazy air, inside auditoriums at USC and along the coasts of Santa Monica are thousands of actors who would kill for the exposure that Nick Young has received from his starring role in D’Angelo Russell’s short film. Before the season, I began calling the Lakers Team Netflix because they weren’t quite ready for Showtime. I may have given them too much credit.

Nick Young and the Restless Lakers are the most sensational soap opera in town.

The final layer of drama over Kobe Bryant’s final tumultuous season has draped a dark cloud over the dawn of Russell’s career.

Oddly enough, more people are rooting for Nick Young than they are for Kyrie Irving’s ex, Kelanhi, who may or may not have tried to commit suicide after she was caught stepping out on the Cavs point guard. Or for Iggy Azalea, Young’s wronged fiancée.

In the long run, shame and embarrassment may be the best thing for Russell. The rook has not described as immature by head coach Byron Scott throughout his inaugural campaign. Being reared in the most dysfunctional locker room since the 08-09 Washington Wizards isn’t doing him any favors.

Being secluded from this immature group is divine providence. It’s also fitting that a franchise stuck in the past with its heavily isolation-reliant offense has decided to keep at arm’s length from its gregarious new franchise cornerstone. Compare Russell’s locker room neighbors to Karl Anthony Towns in Minnesota or even Kristaps Porzingis in New York and the contrast is stark.

Julius Randle is only in his second year out of Kentucky’s freshman factory.

Lou Williams had a wife and a girlfriend who were okay with sharing.

Jordan Clarkson is a few years older than Russell, but was also riding shotgun with Young when they were accused of harassing a woman on the streets weeks ago. Those allegations are mired by murky accusations and conflicting evidence that points towards an overblown reaction, but it still represents a pattern for Young’s life in the limelight.

Metta World Peace exhibits the professionalism of a veteran, but his eccentricities have overshadowed his career accomplishments.

However, Russell’s recording is a petty scandal that could only have occurred with Swaggy P. Young’s origins in D.C.’s O.K. Corral saloon offers insights into how he arrived at this moment.

During his second year in the league, guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton were both suspended for the second half of the season after pulling guns on each other over a gambling debt. Fewer than two years later, Crittenton would be charged with manslaughter in connection to the shooting death of a mother of four in Atlanta.

Andray Blatche tried to solicit sex from an undercover officer posing as a prostitute and was amnestied in 2012 after Washington got fed up with his lack of commitment to conditioning. These days he’s chucking headbands at officials in China.

Javale McGee was blessed with the longest wingspan in NBA history, but cursed with the clumsiness of a slugger at batting practice in a china shop and the self awareness of a lobotomy patient.


DeShawn Stevenson was only run of the mill kooky. He was once called “crazy” by President Obama during the Mavericks’ White House visit, only declared for the pros after his SAT score came under scrutiny and participated in a melee on draft night. But by comparison, he actually appeared sane amid the Wizards island of misfits.

The ringmaster of that circus was Eddie Jordan, who was fired by his alma mater in March after piledriving Rutgers through the Big Ten’s floor until they became the worst major conference team ever.

Then, there was Young, who never treated basketball with the serious-mindedness it required to become a high-quality wing player in the league. Fortunately, the message has been delivered loud and clear to Russell that modeling himself after Young is a recipe for failure. If he doesn’t course correct, he’ll end up like Gilbert Arenas. An insanely talented combo guard with a screw loose in the decision making portion of his brain. Being isolated from this group isn’t the worst-case scenario.

Two decades ago, a precocious teenage swingman for the Lakers was considered an aloof outsider. Unlike Russell, he was so goal-driven that building relationships with his teammates wasn’t a priority. Somewhere between Nick Young and Bryant is a healthy placement on the spectrum.

Russell already exhibits Swaggy P’s flair and cockiness. He’d better heed the warnings of his brush with ignominy and soak in more of Kobe’s focus while he can.