Lakers Debate: Better Backcourt, Lakers or Milwaukee Bucks?

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Point Guard: D’Angelo Russell vs. Michael Carter-Williams

The Milwaukee Bucks have a former Rookie of the Year at the point guard position in Michael Carter-Williams. After a very impressive rookie year however, Carter-Williams’ statistics actually dropped off slightly in his second and third seasons.

Listed at 6-6, MCW pairs ridiculous size for his position with impressive athleticism. He has also proven to be a capable playmaker, averaging six assists over his first three seasons in the league.

However, he has struggled at times to score efficiently, particularly outside of the paint. He lacks a complete offensive game at this point, and hasn’t shown a marked improvement in that regard thus far in his career. His value has dropped off slightly as a result, although he remains a promising young player.

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The Lakers floor general outscored Carter-Williams last season, as Russell averaged thirteen points to his Carter-Williams’ eleven. However, it is worth noting that Carter-Williams scored sixteen and fourteen respectively over his first and second seasons in the NBA.

Michael Carter-Williams has definitely been the more productive playmaker of the two since arriving in the NBA, exceeding Russell’s rookie marks in both assists and assist percentage in all three years of his career. Some of this however, can be attributed to a higher usage rate over his first two years in the league.

While D’Angelo Russell has shown flashes of tremendous passing ability so far, he will definitely need to improve on his consistency as a playmaker as time goes on. Although Russell has also shown potential on the defensive end, Carter-Williams holds a clear advantage on that end of the floor.

However, Russell has shown the potential to grow into a truly elite shooter, demonstrating the ability to convert at a solid clip both in catch and shoot situations and when creating his own shot. Russell shot 35 percent from deep as a rookie, while Carter-Williams converted just 27 percent of his threes in his third season.

Russell also has a clear advantage in terms of efficiency, as he posted a higher True Shooting Percentage as a rookie than Carter-Williams has posted in any of his first three seasons. Russell has demonstrated the ability to contribute even when the ball isn’t in his hands, an area in which Carter-Williams has struggled thus far.

In a league trending more and more towards jump-shooting, the twenty year old with the sweet shooting stroke definitely holds more value than the soon to be twenty-five year old with the broken shot. While the counting stats trend in Carter-Williams favor, Russell’s sky high potential makes him the more valuable long-term asset.

Winner: D’Angelo Russell