Although a talented scorer with loads of potential, D’Angelo Russell made more than a few mistakes during his time with the Lakers. Whether it was ratting his teammates out, or saying he doesn’t know if he can play with the teams future second overall pick, D’Angelo Russell just wasn’t mature enough to handle the jungle that is Los Angeles.
However, now he’s on his way to Brooklyn where there is little to no pressure due to the lack of recent success within the organization. However, he is still in New York which may not be the best city for him at the moment. With that said, let’s check out what D’Angelo Russell is capable of doing both on and off the court.
On The Court
Russell is coming off the best season of his very short career. Averaging 15.6 points per game, 4.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds a game on just over 40% shooting from the field. Although his efficiency wasn’t the best, he was playing on a lackluster Lakers team that never had a chance at competing. However, things started to look up last season after the drama-filled first season, but we will get to that later.
Russell began to start to prove himself as an elite NBA point guard last season and should continue to take extensive strides on the court. Especially because now the sole focal point of the team will be D’Angelo Russell rather than in previous seasons where there was no real star and the Lakers were still searching for an identity. I have even seen articles predict that Russell will make his first all-star appearance next season, and I have to say, I don’t totally disagree.
In a weakening Eastern Conference, Russell has a legitimate chance at averaging 20+ points per game which would nearly secure him a spot in the all-star game. In a big market area such as New York, all Russell has to do is prove that he is the future of the Nets organization and that he is willing to do anything to help the team take the next steps in their process. This is possibly the best chance D’Angelo Russell will ever see to prove himself in this league.
Off The Court
Off the court wise, D’Angelo Russell possibly had the worst rookie season you could dream of. He not only somehow took attention away from Kobe Bryants farewell season but alienated all of his teammates after a private conversation with then-teammate Nick Young surfaced exposing that Young was cheating on then fiance, Iggy Azalea. This scandal caused Azalea to split from Young.
Russell was shunned by his teammates the following night at the team’s dinner as he sat a table all by himself. However, Russell, for the most part, was able to lay low and stay his head out of drama outside of the team facility. But his head coach at the time, Byron Scott did not have the greatest relationship with Russell and even came out and said that Russell has “some growing up to.” Scott was fired though and Warriors assistant, Luke Walton was brought in.
Walton and Russell seem to have developed a great relationship both on and off the court as there is even a quote of Russell calling Walton his “dad” after Luke congratulated him on making an appearance at the NBA all-star weekend. However, things began to take a turn for the worst this offseason after Russell began to stir up some controversy about playing with then college standout, Lonzo Ball.
Ball, who was clearly going to be the Lakers first round pick in the upcoming class is a pure point guard, which is also what Russell views himself as. I would hope this incident woke Russell up and showed him just how cruel this league can be if you don’t play by the rules. Then again, time will tell if D’Angelo has finally decided to take on the responsibility required to play in this league.