Watch Out For D’Angelo Russell


The first half of D’Angelo Russell’s rookie season fell short of many people’s expectations. Overshadowed by the 82-game farewell party Kobe Bryant’s been throwing, the Lakers have had little opportunity to improve a roster brimming with talent.

Reports came out that Coach Byron Scott thought Russell was too cocky and began sitting him during crucial fourth quarters. Russell’s rookie season seemed to be all but over until Byron Scott decided to implement a new offensive set.

Right before the Memphis Grizzlies handed the Lakers their 49th loss of the season, Coach Scott installed a new offensive set. This set was meant to decrease the amount of isolation plays and promote ball and player movement. The scheme requires Russell to give up the ball early as he sets up the offense but also get the ball back fairly quickly, assuming he moves well off the ball and gets a few well set screens.

In the first game using this set, Russell put up 22 points on 6 of 9 shooting. This set has not propelled the Lakers to great heights (lost 3 out of 4 games since set was introduced); however, D’Angelo Russell’s game has improved immensely.
In the 4 games the Lakers played since the new set was introduced, Russell is averaging 26.8 points per game and at a 54.6 percent clip. In a game against the Brooklyn Nets, Russell dropped a career high 39 points along with 8 3s and an ice cold, deep 3 to clinch the win for the Lakers in the final 30 seconds.

The recent scoring outburst Russell has been on is no fluke. This offense fits his style of play perfectly. Russell lost confidence after being repeatedly benched by Byron Scott. A lot of issues between Russell and his coach emerged, and during games Russell began taking less shots. Now Byron has put Russell in a system that benefits his playing style. He is able to find open shots while moving off the ball. When he does have the ball in his hands, he uses pick and rolls to find teammates, either cutting or open on the perimeter.

This offense focused on ball movement is different than what people have seen from the Lakers as of late. Kobe Bryant has taken a lot away from this team during his final season. However, the way that D’Angelo Russell has played this past week is a reason to be excited for the future of the Lakers.

All stats from www.basketball-reference.com

About Cain Lever

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com