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D'Angelo Russell excited about 'fun' culture Luke Walton wants to create

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How will Luke Walton attract free agents to L.A.? (0:58)

New Lakers coach Luke Walton explains what his pitch would be to the top-tier free agents in order to get them to play for Los Angeles. (0:58)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- To put it mildly, D'Angelo Russell faced plenty of criticism during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, and, deserved or not, the bulk of it came from his own head coach, Byron Scott.

It's not a stretch to say that under Scott's hard-driving style, Russell's inaugural NBA campaign wasn't much fun, especially after a video scandal emerged late in the season involving the 2015 No. 2 overall draft pick and teammate Nick Young.

But the Lakers parted ways with Scott in April and hired former Laker Luke Walton, who spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the vaunted Golden State Warriors, an organization that prides itself on having a light-hearted culture.

As Walton, who was introduced as the team's new coach on Tuesday, talked about that culture and how he hopes to build the same with the Lakers, Russell, who watched off to the side at the Lakers' practice facility, smiled from ear to ear.

"I'm like, let's get it. Let's go. I'm excited," Russell said. "I've got a hoodie on and I'm sweating right now."

He later added: "I'm ready for summer league. I'm ready for the first game. I'm ready for preseason. I'm ready for the first practice. I'm ready for all that. "

Russell also said he believes Walton's new style will help the Lakers attract free agents, even though the team is in the midst of rebuilding after posting a franchise-worst 17-65 record last season and striking out on their top free-agent targets in each of the past three offseasons.

"Golden State is very successful and what they did, there wasn't a secret to what they were doing," Russell said. "They had fun. They played together. They were a team, and a lot of teams are like that and they're successful. And there's a lot of teams that aren't like that and they've very unsuccessful. There's no secret to it. Everybody just wants to be around a team that wins, especially a lot of the vets in this league or young guys that are like, 'Let's just have fun and let's win.'"

If Walton is a fan of Russell, then so too is Russell a fan of Walton's.

"He had a great career coaching, playing," Russell said. "He's been very successful. I'm just very all ears. Whatever he has to offer. He's had multiple years of success coaching and playing. Just all ears."

And Russell said he's especially ready to play in the up-tempo style that Walton described.

"In his interview, you see him talking about how much fun we're going to have, days off from practice, resting," Russell said. "That's just something that builds chemistry off the floor."

Russell said he tried to keep in touch with Walton as much as he could in the past couple of months, though he didn't want to pester Walton too much as the Warriors made their postseason run that ended Sunday with a Game 7 Finals loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

One subject they talked about plenty: Warriors guard Stephen Curry, the back-to-back NBA MVP.

"Please don't take this the wrong way, [because] he didn't compare me to Steph, but I asked him a lot about Steph -- a lot of Steph questions as far as how he got to this point, because he was around him," Russell said. "And [Walton talked about] his work ethic, his dedication and this and that. He was like, the way he used the jumpshot -- how [dangerously] he uses it.

"I was like, 'What do you see in my game that I could do?' [Walton] was like, 'Just get your jump shot and ability to score the ball up to par like [Curry] did, and it'll have defenders not knowing if they should close out to block your shot or close out to defend you. That's when it causes hell for other teams.' That's what he said for me."

As Walton noted in his remarks, the Lakers are entering a new era without Kobe Bryant, who retired in April after two accolade-filled decades with the franchise.

When asked what it meant to be a part of that era, Russell replied, "Man, I trust the process. The process is being one of those playoff and Final contenders, and [Walton] knows what it takes. He's got a coaching staff around him so far that's definitely been a part of it, and they know what it takes. I'm just a sponge to everything these guys have to offer."