With the 2016-17 season now fully behind the Los Angeles Lakers, it has given them enough time to assess how it unfolded. A prominent part of that is point guard D’Angelo Russell, who has just finished up his second year in the NBA.
Following his exit meeting on Tuesday with team president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, Russell had a clear understanding of what he believes he needs to improve on over the summer heading into his third season, according to LA Daily News’ Mark Medina.
“You need the credibility to a certain extent, but if your teammates see you doing it and what you’re trying to preach or they witness you trying to do the right thing at all times when no one is looking, it gives them a better perspective on you,” Russell said. “I feel like this year for me, it wasn’t consistent enough with my play, with my communication and everything. It wasn’t consistent enough for them to respect what I had to say.”
The second overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft saw an increase in his overall production averaging 15.6 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. He joined Johnson as the only other Laker to put up those numbers in their second season.
Russell posted per 36 minutes averages of 19.6 points, 6.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals joining six other players who had these numbers by their second campaign with the likes of Johnson, Michael Carter-Williams, LeBron James, Steve Francis, Jason Kidd, and Mark Jackson.
The 21-year-old also picked up his play after All-Star break averaging 18.5 points on 42.5 shooting from the field along with 5.0 assists in 33.3 minutes per game. However, there were stretches of the season where he struggled with providing a consistent offensive fire punch on top of dealing with injuries with 17 of the 19 games he missed due to a sore left knee and a mild right MCL sprain.
Russell will enter the offseason with plenty to work on heading into the offseason keying on playing with more consistency on both ends of the floor. In many ways, it’s a highly important summer for him to make a huge leap in his development because of his role in the Lakers’ future plans.
Bob Garcia IV
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