3 Ways D'Angelo Russell helps Dalton Knecht after accepting Lakers player option

The Los Angeles Lakers have drafted swingman Dalton Knecht. D'Angelo Russell could be one of the players who helps Knecht tap into his potential.
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Lakers earned widespread acclaim for the selection of Dalton Knecht at No. 17 overall in the 2024 NBA Draft. The reigning SEC Player of the Year was a projected top-10 draft pick, but concerns about his age as a 23-year-old incoming rookie ultimately won out.

As the Lakers look to incorporate Knecht into their rotation, D'Angelo Russell has suddenly become an essential piece of the puzzle—and Shams Charania of The Athletic reports he'll be sticking around.

Mere days into his tenure as the head coach of the Lakers, JJ Redick is already revealing his influence. Los Angeles has made a concerted effort in the early stages of the offseason to build its roster in a way that's consistent with Redick's rumored vision.

Knecht fits the bill in that regard as a sharpshooting wing who possesses the physical attributes to improve on defense.

In order to tap into Knecht's potential, however, he needs to be involved in rotations that highlight his strengths. That's where Russell comes in, as a playmaker and sharpshooter who could be the perfect perimeter complement to him during stretches in which Anthony Davis or LeBron James are on the bench.

Russell is a starting-caliber player who will likely occupy a starting role if he isn't traded, and drafting Knecht has suddenly made him more valuable to the Lakers.

That value begins in the most obvious of places: Three-point shooting.

1. Three-Point Shooting Options

The Lakers finished the 2023-24 season ranked No. 24 in the NBA in three-point field goals made and No. 28 in three-point field goal attempts. Many could shoulder the blame for that disappointing output, but Russell should never come close to appearing on that list.

An elite three-point shooter in both volume and efficiency, Russell could join firces with Knecht to transform the Lakers' offense from day one.

Russell finished the 2023-24 season with averages of 18.0 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.0 three-point field goals made per game. He did so while posting a slash line of .456/.415/.828, which placed him among the top sharpshooters in the Association.

Russell finished 19th in three-point field goals made per game in 2023-24, and had the second-best three-point field goal percentage of any player in the top 20.

With Russell on the court, Knecht wouldn't be exposed to the targeted defense that made scoring so difficult at Tennessee. Instead, he could work without the ball while opposing teams prioritize Russell's shooting prowess—thus creating easier opportunities.

The Lakers need to improve from beyond the arc as a team, and getting rid of one of the best shooters in the NBA wouldn't get them any closer—while keeping him would help Knecht immensely.