4 Lakers who are underperforming, 3 exceeding expectations at the All-Star break

These Lakers have differed from expectations in the first half of the season.

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James, Anthony Davis
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James, Anthony Davis / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Exceeding expectations: D’Angelo Russell

Everyone expected Russell to be traded before the deadline when he signed his two-year $36 million contract last summer. It looked like the perfect deal to use as a salary matcher, and Russell quickly waived his no-trade clause.

He remains on the Lakers. The 27-year-old averaged 21.9 points, 6.7 assists, and 2.6 rebounds in 34.8 minutes per game over the final 19 contests before the All-Star break. He shot 46.4 percent from the field and 44.7 percent on his 3-point attempts during that stretch. D-Lo was playing like a star, and it was just too good for the Lakers to part with.

For the season, Russell is the Lakers' third-leading scorer and second in assists per game. He is a key floor spacer on a roster that lacks shooting and a needed offensive weapon. D-Lo struggles on the defensive end, but Los Angeles could not afford to trade him without getting a key offensive option in return.

D’Angelo Russell has plenty to prove after the All-Star break. He took a significant pay cut to sign with the Lakers last summer. Russell wants to prove he deserves $30-plus million per season. If he keeps making shots and scoring over 20 points per game, teams will have interest if he declines his player option and becomes a free agent.