D'angelo Russell Star In The Making
Every year in the NBA we see players break out for new career highs most notably last year was the Trail Blazers very own CJ McCollum who emerged as not only a lethal scorer but the perfect complimentary guard for Damian Lillard. But now a new season is on the rise and more players are poised for their breakouts, and leading that charge is second year guard D'angelo Russell.
After a solid rookie season it seems like Russell has figured his way around the league, now that Kobe is gone all eyes are going to be looking towards Russell to instill himself as a leader among the Lakers core. He is going to be spear heading a very potent offense in which he has been given the passage by not only his coach but his teammates to "keep shooting" . Though Russell might be a lethal scorer from just about anywhere in the offensive zone that is not all he has to offer, he is quite the crafty passer and with such an array of weapons at his disposable he'll be racking up assists in no time.
Through out this years pre-season we have seen Russell do amazing things putting up big number such as 31,33 and 21 points while not only shooting .500% or above in FG% but also in 3P%. He has also shown the mental fortitude, having the ability to be able to have bounce back games from disappointing nights, he had 12 points, shot 6 for 21 while going 0 for 9 from the three point line against the Blazers, but managed to bounce back with his best performance this pre-season against Sacramento scoring 31 points, shooting 10 for 14 and 5 for 6 from the three while also managing 11 assists and 2 steals. He's showed that adversity is no issue which will be a major positive playing on a still developing Lakers team.
Though Russell did get off to a rocky first year mostly because of the entire Swaggy P situation , it now seems that this has blown over and the trust has returned to the locker room. With that trust Russell will be able to build connections with players and will soon be the undisputed leader in the locker room. Being the leader means he is going to have to lead the team on either side of the ball and defense is where the Lakers have really struggled giving up an astounding 106.9 PPG which ranked them 27th in the league. Yes Russell had a very solid outing on the defensive side last year leading his team in steals per game but, if he wants to see success for not only himself but also his Lakers squad he's going to have to step it up another notch and really get the defense working.
The Lakers still have a long way to go before they become a competitive team again but it seem like D'angelo Russell is on his way to becoming the point guard they hoped for when they drafted him second overall in 2015.