The Los Angeles Lakers continue to struggle and are currently on a five-game losing streak after losing to the Denver Nuggets. D’Angelo Russell, who’s expected to step up, only contributed five points and three assists. The former second overall pick criticized himself for his performance.
The Lakers expected Russell to perform better in his sophomore year after Kobe Bryant retired last season. The 20-year-old point guard became a disappointment in his rookie season playing under coach Byron Scott. The arrival of Luke Walton brought a healthy environment and optimism that the purple and gold could be great again.
After a surprising 10-10 start, the Lakers turned out to be one of the worst teams once again. They only won five of their last 21 games. In the first five games of January, D’Angelo Russell averaged 20.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 steals on 46.6 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three-point range. However, in the last five games, it went down to 9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.0 assists on only 32.8 percent shooting from the field and just 11.1 percent from deep.
In their recent loss to the Nuggets, coach Luke Walton decided to bench Russell after another poor performance on both ends of the floor. Russell applauded Walton’s decision and also noticed his inconsistencies.
“I haven’t been bringing it,” Russell said. “I applaud coach for not putting me on the floor in the times I haven’t been. Whoever he put into my position was bringing it and he stuck with it, so I applaud him for that.”
D’ANGELO RUSSELL CAN LEAD THE LAKERS, SAYS MAGIC JOHNSON
D’Angelo Russell knows he needs to be more consistent and prove that he’s ready to lead the team. Five-time NBA champion Magic Johnson believes in Russell’s ability, saying that he could be the next leader of the purple and gold.
“D’Angelo is so talented. I just hope he steps into a bigger leadership role,” he said. “We need a leader and he has to step into that role as a point guard. What makes every team great is they have that one guy leading the team.”
Despite being one of the youngest teams, the Lakers showed their capability of competing against any NBA teams. Russell and other young players should show more confidence and maturity in order to bring the team back to the winning column.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr