Los Angeles Lakers: 4 reasons to avoid signing D’Angelo Russell

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
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3. He doesn’t play much defense

With LeBron James nearing the end of his prime, he’s had to conserve his energy more and more in recent years, which has involved him cutting corners on the defensive end. This means that the Lakers can’t really get away with having weak defenders on the roster, and they need a wing starter who is a strong two-way player.

Russell seems to have the physical tools to be a difference maker on D. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs about 200 lbs while possessing a 6-foot-9 wingspan.

However, it hasn’t really panned out. In fact, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has had to take Russell out of the game for long periods of time because he had a lot of trouble with certain defensive matchups.

The advanced defensive metrics also don’t make him look good. He has never posted a net positive DBPM for a whole season, and his personal defensive rating has never been less than 110.

In a pace-and-space guard-oriented league, Russell just won’t cut it on the defensive end, especially as a starter, and especially with the kind of money he’ll likely be commanding in free agency.