21-year-old D’Angelo Russell has completed his second professional year (both with the Los Angeles Lakers) this year. This season, he played 61 games,of which he has started 60 (Averaging 28.6 mins per game), 15.7 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 TRB (Total Rebound Percentage). So just before D’Lo begins his final fully guaranteed year in his current contract, we look back on his 16-17 season.
D’Lo definitely has potential, no doubt about it. The main problem however, is that Russell doesn’t show that CONSISTENTLY right now.
Russell averaged the same amount of turnovers per 100 possessions as Golden State Warriors’ legend Stephen Curry did in his second pro season. In Russell’s favor, Curry was two years older than Russell in their second seasons.
Prior to Russell’s 21st birthday, in late-February, he held the record as highest effective field goal percentage in any player, on the list, aged 20.
On and Off Court Field Goal Percentage
This season, the Los Angeles Lakers field goal percentage was .450%, with D’Angelo’s personal FG% was .405%. This shows that when Russell is not playing the Lakers are still definitely getting on with the job and getting it done. Just not as well as when D’Angelo Russell is playing with only .045% between the entirety of the team and himself.
Staff And Team Thoughts
It appears that, no matter what the fans think, the Lakers staff and players will always have D’Lo’s back. Take a look;
I’ve seen more consistency in his professionalism and his affecting the outcome of games. Y’know, whether he’s struggling, hitting shots or missing shots like recently, where he had those early turnovers and those games would kind of snowball a bit. He would struggle the rest of the night and he’s done a good job of whether he’s making bad plays with that, missing shots, no matter what he makes sure he’s in a position to help our team win games. – Luke Walton
And Jordan Clarkson had this to say after D’Lo was moved up from the bench to play along side him
He’s doing really well, seeing as he’s so young. Constantly making plays for others as well.
Fans are one of the most important factors of any good team for anything. That’s why I took to Facebook to ask the die-hard Lakers fans on the site their opinions on D’Angelo this season. Here’s what they had to say.
I would say D’Angelo has come full circle from earlier this season when he was air balling shots and now in the end, he’s making big shots. From the start until the midpoint of the season, he didn’t bounce back when he had bad starts but he finally learned how to get back into the games rhythm. – Joaquin Arig
Another person who thought D’Lo had taken most of the season to find his confidence said;
It’s taken most of the season but he’s finally growing into his game. – John M Phillips Sr.
Another couple of people who agreed with what Luke Walton said above were;
He is being himself more on the court lately. You can see his maturity on the floor. – Davante Williams
There’s a definite growth from last season on and off the court. I feel that when it comes to Russell there are two people you can talk about, Russell the basketball player and Russell who has made the biggest improvement in his team with his play making, setting the O, reading defenses and running plays. – Zico Z Hunna
Some people thought that he had more weaknesses than strengths;
He’s still very young minded. Has to improve his shot selection as a PG and as an SG. – Patricia Weaver
Might be trade bait if Magic want’s to build around the other’s like Randle or Zubac. – Michael Maiorano
And finally,this man thought D’Lo was better as a Point Guard than a Shooting Guard (I agree…)
He’s a mature point guard already but when we switch him to shooting guard there still seems to be a growing pain to address. – Ikie Solkie Hendrix
D’Angelo missed nearly a quarter of the season. When Russell was out, the team’s play suffered, with the team chemistry not really seeming the same as when he was starting and leading the offense. He was out for two weeks on November 23 due to a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left knee. Then, he was out in January when and MRI revealed a mild sprain in his right knee and calf.
He also missed a game with the New Orleans Pelicans due to the death of his grandmother. He was staying with close family in his hometown of Louisiana with Luke Walton quoted saying;
“He’s going to be home until he’s ready to come back. We’re here to support him. It’s not a set date he’s coming back yet.”
The day after was the Lakers last game of the season against the Golden State Warriors, which D’Lo also sadly missed due to the family circumstance. Our thoughts are with D’Lo and his family.
One of the main reasons I like Russell over others is that he is a fairly well-rounded players who liked to focus on his overall game-play rather than one specific piece of play. Here are some, in my opinion, of his main strengths.
He shows good form on his shot and has a quick release, very good at running the pick and roll, good at knocking the defenders of balance with fake passes and shots. That said he needs to correct some foot work issues
Since last season, he has really started working on his body and has shown a massive difference in his upper body strength. Very good at creating shots in the middle passage using nasty handles. Great at using crossovers and his drive and dish is a very effective element to the game.
As much as I am a D’Lo fan. I wouldn’t want to make this article biased in any way. So, here we have his weaknesses, stuff he needs to put a little work into and something he needs to put a lot of work into.
He needs to improve on his defense, he is a crucial part of the team and defense would only make the Lakers better. D’Lo could also tends to turn into his shot a little as well, he should with on his form just a wee bit more.
He could also use a little work on his off-hand as shot selection, as should be expected from a young point/shooting guard such as himself.
I would recommend that D’Lo uses a pick and roll (AKA Screen and roll/screen roll) strategy. This is because it’s a great use of his speed and his size (1.96 m/6’5″) which really helps him pull this off alongside teammates Brandon Ingram or even Ivica Zubac.
I like D’Angelo Russell a lot despite the inconsistencies in his performance. The people who don’t like him tend not to like him due to this, but what I think is that he is young and went from college straight to one of the biggest teams in the NBA. Personally, I’d find that quite difficult. So in my opinion, you can’t really hate the guy. He’s young and hardly rubbish, he plays really well some days then plays mediocre other games. So in short, he’s not terrible and I just don’t see the need in blaming him for all the teams troubles.