Lakers Player Profile: D’Angelo Russell
- Updated: November 4, 2016
The Los Angeles Lakers are experiencing a change without the usual face of the franchise, Kobe Bryant. The franchise changed things up right after one of the greatest Lakers ever played in his final game. The Lakers went out to hire former Laker Champion, Luke Walton to accommodate 2015 2nd overall pick, D’Angelo Russell.
The move to hire Luke Walton was a change for the Lakers culture and the developing of the youth. Russell had an up-and-down rookie campaign, especially with his off the court issues involving teammate, Nick Young. D’Angelo showed his comfort level after the all-star break putting up nine 20-point games and two 30-point games during his rookie season. Russell took that confidence into the summer league, where he showed his leadership and contributed a game-winner. His head coach noticed Russell’s growth on the court during offseason workouts, Walton told the team “This is the point guard! He’s the leader! When he speaks, guys, you gotta listen.”
Russell expressed his happiness during preseason:
“The coaching staff, the whole atmosphere that this coaching staff brings is different. I’m not saying better, I’m not downgrading the last coaching staff. I’m just saying the atmosphere they bring every day is a winning mentality.”
D’Angelo is trusted to be the other coach on the floor that will direct things on the floor, communicate with his teammates and be eye-to-eye with his head coach.
With the 2016-2017 season underway, D’Angelo was able to put up 20 points and 3 assists in the Lakers first win of the season. He has added three more 20-point games this season. Russell has thrown a season-high 8 assists this season, but is still searching for his first double-digit assist game in his career. With the high-tempo offense and Russell’s vision, he should be able to produce easy looks for his teammates.
The Lakers have a tough game tonight, as they will host the Golden State Warriors. They were able to face the newly assembled Warriors earlier in October for two preseason games. D’Angelo led the Lakers to a win last year against the dominant Warriors, while putting up 21 points and adding 5 assists. Luke Walton has familiarity on what Steve Kerr and the coaching staff wants to run but D’Angelo must control the game for his team. He’s going to have a huge task by going against the reigning MVP, Stephen Curry, but he’s expected to make Curry work on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. For the Lakers to get their second home win this season, D’Angelo must be able to provide a solid game of at least 18 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds.
Russell has the keys to a powerful and respected organization, but is expected to act older than his age and lead the Lakers to championships. D’Angelo and the Lakers will have two more home games before traveling on the road beginning in Sacramento.
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