There are a lot of compelling storylines around the Los Angeles Lakers heading into the 2023-24 season but none is more compelling than D’Angelo Russell. Russell re-signed with the team over the offseason and there is a wide array of outcomes for the former second-overall pick.
Following a poor Western Conference Finals last season, there is a world in which Russell gets traded by the Lakers at the deadline if the team wants to pivot. However, there is also a world in which Russell breaks out and proves all his naysayers wrong.
Regardless of what fans expect, it is impossible to deny that Russell has been great in the preseason thus far for the Lakers. Preseason games don’t matter and should be taken with a grain of salt but it is still nice to see a player thriving instead of struggling.
To make Russell’s strong play even more promising, he seemingly is buying into the right philosophy as well. Russell said all the right things following the Lakers’ win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday and fans are beyond hyped.
D’Angelo Russell’s commitment to defense should hype up Lakers fans
This is exactly the kind of attitude that Russell should be heading into the season with as it is going to maximize his role with the Lakers. The biggest hole in Russell’s game is on the defensive end of the floor and minimizing that makes him a dangerous threat in the playoffs.
As talented as Russell is offensively, his style has not translated to winning basketball, particularly in the playoffs. While he has had brief flashes (such as his outburst against the Golden State Warriors), more times than not he does all of the little things wrong.
Of course, talk is cheap in the NBA and Russell is going to have to consistently back this claim up as the season goes along. If the results on the court are not matching what Russell is saying that he is doing then the team will take the same approach that it did last season.
It is a lot easier to play great defense in the preseason, especially when the body is fresh. Will Russell be committing to taking charges and giving 100% on defense after an 82-game regular season? That is the important question.
But at the very least, Russell’s head seems to be in the perfect place and that is a great start for the Lake Show.