Los Angeles Lakers: A look inside via D’Angelo Russell’s lens

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 12: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white.) NBA player D'Angelo Russell attends the 2017 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 12: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white.) NBA player D'Angelo Russell attends the 2017 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) /

Former Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell opened up about his time with the Lakers in a podcast appearance with Adrian Wojnarowski.

Since the summer of 2015, there has been a civil war taking place between Los Angeles Lakers fans who either support D’Angelo Russell or are the fans who wanted him out of a Lakers uniform.

The pro-Russell side points to his charisma and high-ranking statistics among guards in their first two seasons. The anti-Russell camp will tell you about his immaturity and his inability to attack the rim, to begin their checklist.

There are strong arguments that support both sides of the D’Lo coin, beginning with how his first NBA coach viewed him.

Most will forget how excited Byron Scott was when the Lakers drafted Russell. Scott said D’Lo impressed in the pre-draft workouts, as he showed leadership qualities and the ability to make other players better. By the end of Russell’s first season, the two were at odds, as Scott slammed Russell for his lack of work ethic. The result was the organization choosing to stick with their cornerstone and firing Scott.

But was Scott right about Russell? The Lakers hired Luke Walton as his successor and by midway through the 2016-17 season, the new coach had expressed some of the same concerns about his point guard’s work habits. Walton soured on Russell the same way his predecessor did.

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You might be asking why Russell is still a topic of discussion in a Laker’s piece. It is because sometimes you have to look into the past to plot out a brighter future. Russell himself helped lift the lid to look inside his Lakers tenure via an early summer podcast appearance with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Early in the discussion, it appears Russell was eluding to not receiving world-class treatment from the Lakers as a probable cause of some unhappiness.

"You talk to GMs and coaches from other teams and you see the relationship with some of their players. You see other organizations that don’t have that relationship with their players, and you can just see it. A lot of guys are happy where they are when they get that treatment. Coming into the Lakers organization, it was what it was, then you get traded to Brooklyn organization and you see what it is. You can’t really complain about it, it’s just different. -D’Angelo Russell"

It may be possible that you can blame Russell’s aforementioned work habits on an organizational flaw, as he implied the Lakers weren’t as organized as he thought they should be:

"In L.A., it’s not like college. The way Brooklyn run things seems more college. You have a schedule laid out everyday, every time, and you know what it is… Obviously (better with structure) especially when you’re a young player and you have structure, you definitely thrive off that. You come from college, you have structure then you get into the NBA it’s no structure, it’s different. -D’Angelo Russell"

The new front office team of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka were sure to make some changes to the roster when they came aboard, as most do because they want their impression to be felt. So just two days before the 2017 NBA Draft, the Lakers traded Russell to Brooklyn.

"They got to get rid of some talent to get off those contracts… I knew I can possibly be in that position… I expected it."

Even if turning the franchise’s future over to Lonzo Ball was the correct decision, some pundits think pairing him with Russell in the backcourt would have been fruitful considering that Ball has next-level point God skills that could’ve potentially translated to Russell becoming his best self on the court.

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Los Angeles Lakers

"I think I’ve showed my versatility since I’ve been in the league in my first year playing alongside Kobe, knowing when and not to move, and then kind of towards the end of this year I was playing off the ball. I showed I can run a team. I think the versatility in this league is really taking guys’ level of play up another level and I’m honestly just trying to attack that. -D’Angelo Russell"

He even feels playing off the ball is easier.

"Playing off the ball, I feel like you just have one job and that’s to play make on the offensive end… Instead of coming up across the half court with the ball in my hand, setting up guys and when the ball comes back, make plays… It’s definitely easier but wherever I’m at, I can make it work. -D’Angelo Russell"

If you think the anti-Russell camp won because he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a salary dump, think again. This war won’t be close to settled until we see how his first year in the Eastern Conference plays out.

"On the East there are opportunities — All Star and individual accolades, I guess the playoffs. On the West, you can name 10 teams that can make the playoffs but on the east side, I only know a few teams, so the opportunity is different. -D’Angelo Russell"

Regardless of which side you’re riding with, these two players and will be intertwined for the coming seasons.

Next: 4 Reasons Trading D'Angelo Russell Was Right Move

You can listen to the entire discussion between Adrian Wojnarowski and D’Angelo Russell here.