D’Angelo Russell and Marcelo Huertas Are Bringing Passing Back
Last season’s Lakers squad was in the bottom seven in assist percentage, which should come as no surprise to anyone who suffered through the swarm of isolated 20-foot jumpers they took. With point guard Steve Nash lost to a luggage-induced injury (actually retirement) and backup Jeremy Lin struggling, the team didn’t have a true shot-creator and to set up teammates.
Enter D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers highest draft pick since they snagged James Worthy with the No. 1 pick in 1982. The dynamic Russell is known for a lot of things, including a sweet shooting stroke, ball handling skills, leadership, and impressive size (6’5”) for a point guard.
However, the one skill that stands above the rest is Russell’s passing. He is a creative distributor who uses his size and length to find unique angles, often hitting teammates before they even realize they are open. That, coupled with his quick reactions and the extreme velocity he can put on the ball, makes him the man to turn around the Lakers’ ball-movement woes.
“His vision is astronomical” – Kobe Bryant on D’Angelo Russell
Of course, Russell is a rookie and to hoist too much responsibility on his shoulders would be a mistake. To compensate, the Lakers brought in international veteran and passing wizard, Marcelo Huertas, who has set the preseason on fire with his incredible dishes. While his minutes were extremely limited due to a hamstring injury, Huertas instantly changes the flow of the game and makes everyone around him better. His passes are dazzling, and he gives Russell a phenomenal example to follow.
Oh….ok then Marcelo, you are on the team! https://t.co/LUQaLQaHSW
— Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane) October 20, 2015
High-level distribution like Russell and Huertas provide can be contagious, and we have already seen players like Kobe Bryant and Julius Randle getting in on the act during preseason. When the Lakers move the ball, it can be insanely fun to watch, and brings an energy to the squad that has been sorely missed. They still have a long ways to go, but there have been a few faint glimmers of Showtime during the Lakers preseason play, and that’s something to be excited about.
Ok Julius, we see you https://t.co/rFDUt9TxYp
— Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane) October 9, 2015