The Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center are set to take on D’Angelo Russell for the first time since his trade to the Brooklyn Nets.
Luke Walton on D’Angelo Russell: “He’s been playing great. I’m happy for him.” Admits he checks up on him #Lakers
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) November 1, 2017
Russell has had a strong start to his first campaign with the Nets currently averaging career highs across the board with 21.7 points on 46.6 percent shooting from the field with 5.0 assists, and 4.1 rebounds in seven games played. This includes scoring in double figures in each contest with a double-double and two 30-point outings.
The Lakers had made the decision to move on from Russell just prior to the 2017 NBA Draft in a deal that also sent big man Timofey Mozgov to the Nets while netting them in return former All-Star center Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick that was used on rookie Kyle Kuzma.
It also came a few days before the Lakers found his replacement in rookie Lonzo Ball, who was selected with the second overall pick in this year’s draft.
The fact that Walton has admitted that he follows up on the 21-year-old shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the strong connection that the two developed during their one year together in Los Angeles. On top of that, he has spoken nothing but high praise toward Russell whenever his name is brought up in conversation.
That said, the former 2015 second overall pick saw his tenure with the Lakers become marred with constant questions about his maturity, work ethic and lack of consistency in his play on the court throughout his first two seasons in the league. All of this could foreseeably bring more intrigue to Friday’s matchup.