The Los Angeles Lakers have their PG of the present and future with D’Angelo Russell. But his growth won’t reach full potential until his has the trust of his teammates.
Last season was a complete disaster for the young guard as he had to deal with on court and off court issues. As the season progressed he sorta lost that trust with his teammates but slowly he has begun to earn it back. It just takes time. The one thing he does have.
Russell and the Lakers are young. While each player has a bright future, Russell may be the one with the brightest.
He plays a position that requires leadership and intelligence and his real audition begins this season. Russell has shown from Summer League to the preseason that he has either grown from last season or Byron Scott was keeping him on a very short leash.
His play this preseason so far has been remarkable as he’s the team’s leading scorer with 18 per game. But scoring is easy for Russell, it’s the other parts of his game that will define him as a player. If Russell is allowed to run the offense which looks to be leaning towards more of an uptempo style then he has a great chance to be a 20/10 player.
Normally you think Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook or John Wall but Russell should be right there at the end of the season with the NBA’s best. The points are easy to come by but the assists are what will set him apart. Paul has Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Wall has Bradley Beal, but Russell has more options at his disposal.
On either a break or halfcourt set he will see Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng, Lou Williams or the rim attacking rookie, Brandon Ingram.
Last season he averaged four assists per game but he was more confused than anything. He now has a year under his belt and has managed to void himself of the disrespect Scott directed towards him in 2015. What he manages to do with his new opportunity will decide what kind of player he will become.
He can be the, “if only” or he can become the ‘now look”. A lot rides on how his teammates responds, but the true test is how he responds.