• J.T. Clifton

D'Angelo Russell Looks Poised to Have a Breakout Year

D’Angelo Russell is poised to have a breakout season for the Lakers. Russell no longer has to look over his shoulders with the weird grudge that Byron Scott held with him all season. It was a very odd situation that a 2nd overall pick would be coming off the bench, on a very bad team. Scott seemed to be very hard on his rookie point guard, and it took a heavy toll on him.

In steps Luke Walton, and Russell seems to be headed to be the set starter at point guard, but that’s not to say he hasn’t earned it. Russell has been working very hard this offseason, even going as far as boxing with Roy Hibbert. Walton will more than likely run an up-tempo offense, and that will favor Russell’s game. Russell hit 130 three pointers last year, and that number will likely rise this year.

Russell was perhaps the best player in the summer league this year. Summer league is not the NBA, but Russell showed things in the Summer, that people wondered about last year. Russell hit an ice cold game-winner from deep three-point range. He wasn’t hesitant to take the shot, and that might come from not looking over his shoulder with Scott. Russell just looked like he really controlled the team. He looked like a leader on the court, and not someone that’s trying to impress a coach that at some times looked like he didn’t want to be impressed.

D’Angelo averaged 21.8 ppg, 6.2 rbp, and 4.0 assists in four Las Vegas Summer League games. Russell was by far the best player on the floor for a Laker team that featured this year’s the number 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram. Russell had 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists in the Lakers opening game against the Pelicans. The 2nd game against the number 1 pick Ben Simmons, Russell had 22 points, and hit the aforementioned game-winner.

In an interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Russell gave his reasons for why he wanted to be a post-dominant guard: “In this league everybody’s different. You’ve got small guards that dominate the game. You’ve got athletic guards that dominate the game. You’ve got shooting guards that dominate the game. And the post is slowly disappearing with guards.” “It’s a few guards that really still post up I’d say, like Westbrook or Chris Paul a little bit… I just wanna be one of those guys that can dominate the game at any time from the post.” Russell adding a post-game, would make him a point that could dominate with his size . Russell has turned heads with his time at the USA camp, getting praise from coaches for his work ethic and poise on the court.

Kobe Bryant is gone, and it’s time for a new Laker to call this “his team”. D’Angelo Russell is that guy. He has the skills and work ethic to become the man in Los Angeles. This season should be his breakout year, and propel him into stardom.

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