The majority of the exit interviews for the team concluded on Thursday April 13th. Noticeably absent from these interviews was the 2nd year guard out of Ohio state and former number 2 pick D’Angelo Russell. Unlike his fellow draft mate Kristaps Porzingis, who skipped the interview all together (deservedly so), Russell merely rescheduled the interview for Tuesday.
3 Focuses from the Front Office
To start the interview the first question was what was some of the points the FO and Luke Walton focused on. “Leadership, consistency, changing my body was the main focus”. Russell expanded on the Leadership aspect with a follow up question. “Honestly this year with everything we went through as a team gave me a better blueprint on how I was going to try and attack the leadership qualities I know that I have” “Sitting back thinking about what I can do for each one of my teammates to better them. What I can do not what anybody else can do”. D’Angelo Russell was asked about specifics though he let (what sounded like Bresnahan) know that he doesn’t have specifics for them but he knows what they are personally.
Russell talked about his statement last year about getting credibility and that he couldn’t get that last year. “I kind of an excuse you need the credibility to a certain extent but I feel like if your teammates see you doing what you are trying to preach or they witness you trying to do the right thing at all times when no one’s looking it gives them a better perspective on you and I feel like this year for me it wasn’t consistent enough with my play with my communication it wasn’t consistent enough for them to respect what I had to say”. Russell went on to discuss how he had never been in a situation where he had to essentially earn his leadership role. It was all given to him.
Since his Grandmother passed
You can visibly see that the Last 5 days had been taxing on the newly 21 year old. Russell discussed how grateful he was to the organization for their support through this tough time. Russell stated that he told Luke on the day of the Minnesota game that he was on the next flight to Louisville and Luke was 100% supportive. The Lakers also sent flowers for his grandmother which he thought was very special.
On the season
D’Angelo was asked to talk about the season and if he was satisfied with how it played out. “I wouldn’t say satisfied” Russell went on to say “I think our record shadowed that we played bad as a team but we had a lot of improvement that I’m excited for going into the next season you got a feel for players and coaches that really affected me individually. Individually I wouldn’t say that I played bad but if I looked throughout the season I was inconsistent at times and that was the main focus. Best thing about that is I can control that. I can control how much work I put in to be more consistent.”
His biggest improvements
D’Angelo Russell was asked what the biggest improvement he saw for himself this year. “Playmaking” Russell expanded “I feel like I could score or get the shot I wanted at any time I wanted so picking and choosing when I could do that and when I didn’t and I was trying to create for someone else was really something I would say I improved upon”
It seems that Russell was very humbled by the passing of his grandmother. It seems clear he knows what he needs to work on this off season and already has a game plan to do so. Make no mistake Russell did improve this season and he is showing major flashes of being the star this town desperately needs. Personally I’m really excited to see what his next evolution is with his 3rd year as a Laker coming.
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