Lakers winner: D’Angelo Russell
D’Angelo Russell was the most interesting impending Lakers free agent this past summer. Trading Russell Westbrook and getting a package in return that was headlined by Russell was the best thing that could have happened to LA last season.
Despite his flaws, Russell was an upgrade over Westbrook simply because of his floor-spacing. That showed on full display in the second round of the NBA Playoffs when Russell put together a huge showing against the Golden State Warriors.
However, Russell’s flaws were then on full display the following series against the Denver Nuggets. After such an atrocious showing in the Western Conference Finals, it was unclear if the Lakers were going to bring him back.
Los Angeles ultimately did and Russell had exactly the kind of game he needed to have in Saturday’s preseason opener. Russell was a catalyst for the offensive side of the ball, not only scoring it himself but getting the offense going around him.
Russell played 16 minutes and had a team-best +8 plus/minus. He scored 15 points on 6-10 shooting (2-3 from three) and picked up five assists. It was a great offensive night for the point guard.
While this is exciting, and will undoubtedly happen again in the preseason and the regular season, fans need to remember to temper expectations with Russell. There are facets of his game that do not translate well to playoff basketball and a solid preseason showing doesn’t change that.