D’Angelo Russell finally showed the aggressiveness that the Lakers need.
D’Angelo Russell has been the subject of much criticism during the beginning of his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers. A confident floor general in college, Russell’s demeanor has been far more demure in the NBA. This has concerned many Laker fans, many of whom feel that he lacks the killer-instinct needed to become a true star in the NBA.
On Friday night against the Raptors, Russell began to show the confidence and swagger that convinced the Lakers he was the right pick in last year’s draft. Scoring 17 points, Russell showed much greater aggression than he has in previous games.
In college, Russell played with supreme confidence, controlling the offense for his team while taking and making shots from all over the court. This was the Russell Lakers fans expected and they were understandably disappointed with his early performances. However, it was only a matter of time before the young floor general regained his footing and demonstrated his tremendous upside.
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Against the Raptors, Laker fans got to see D’Angelo Russell play the way they have hoped he would since he was selected. Shooting with much more confidence, Russell drained a trio of three-pointers in the game, showing that it was only a matter of time before his exceptional shooting in college translated to the pros.
The Lakers’ second-overall pick also showed much more determination in getting to rim, even keeping the ball in transition for a nice finish. He also showed his value in the mid-range game, pulling up and hitting shots on the baseline and in the middle of the court. His length is especially valuable in this area, as he can simply shoot over opponents who would block most point guards.
Although Russell still struggled at times on the defensive end, getting lost or simply falling asleep, he showed flashes of increased intensity on that side of the floor as well. One sequence in particular, in which D’Angelo got a steal and quickly finished with a right-handed layup, showed that he has the potential to be a troublesome defensive presence.
D’Angelo Russell is a talented young player, and will develop more and more as the season goes on. Although it’s understandable for Laker fans to be impatient after multiple rough seasons, it’s important to keep the situation in perspective. It will take time for Russell to become the player the Lakers hope he can become. In the meantime, fans can hope to see more flashes of Russell’s talent and aggression in impressive games like this one.