D'Angelo Russell proves he's better for Lakers than Dejounte Murray, Zach LaVine

D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

At the start of 2024, D'Angelo Russell had little to no trade value around the league. Flash forward to mid-March, and it appears he is now due for a raise from his $18.7 million player for next season. After being so highly under-appreciated for so long, his critics and doubters have had no choice but to embrace D'Lo's greatness in recent weeks. And after his career-high outburst against Milwaukee, the 28-year-old gem is making Rob Pelinka look like a mastermind.

In the weeks leading up to last month's NBA trade deadline, there was a seemingly never-ending stream of buzz tied to how much better the Lakers would be with Dejounte Murray as opposed to Russell.

Not only have his numbers improved immensely since January 1st, but the Lakers have gone 18-13 in that span and look like a lock to at least make the play-in tournament (and hopefully usurp 3 Western conference foes to earn an outright playoff spot).

It is no coincidence that the purple and gold started stringing together a stretch of success while Russell started simultaneously silencing his snakes. Whether it was Dejounte Murray or Zach LaVine, the media and fanbase alike seemed enamored with the idea of swapping the southpaw for another perimeter threat to slot next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

D'Angelo Russell has proven he is better for the Lakers than Dejounte Murray and Zach LaVine

The only issue with their sentiments was that neither Dejounte Murray nor Zach LaVine were ever actually going to fit in between the stars as snugly as Russell does. He may be a ball-dominant creator, but D'Lo is more than capable of making an impact offensively without the ball in his hands similar to LaVine.

And he may not be the pesky defender that Murray is, but he has displayed some sneaky good instincts/hands throughout the 2023-2024 campaign as he continues to improve defensively.

D'Angelo Russell is not a certified superstar, but his latest bender of buckets has been a pleasant reminder of just how lucky the Lakeshow is to have him aboard. A few months back, it was as if the entire world had written him off and wanted him gone.

Now, his impending free agency ($18.7 million player option for 2024-2025) is among the chief concerns of many Laker fans who want him back next season.

Thank you for not shipping D'Lo out of town at the trade deadline, Rob Pelinka. Now, please kindly do everything in your power to retain his services at the conclusion of the current campaign.

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