Los Angeles Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell has had an up and down first year. Though head coach Byron Scott has changed Russell’s role and minutes throughout the season, the rookie has shown flashes of being a star in this league.
Most recently Russell scored 32 points in the Lakers’ 110-102 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, his highest since his career-high 39 points against the Nets on March 1.
After the game, however, Scott chose to speak about where Russell has continued to struggle and said the rookie needs to focus on parts of his game other than offense according to Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:
“I want him to be looking at the other parts of the game,” Scott said. “That’s part of the problem that he’s focusing on the offensive part of the game. Let’s focus on the defensive end, getting over screens and being a help defender, rebounding the ball and getting deflections. When you take the focus off of that, it comes to you.”
At this stage no one doubts Russell’s offensive potential as he has proven he can knock down baskets. The next step for him is improving on the defensive end and that is what Scott wants him to focus on with good reason.
The Lakers as a team were terrible defensively this season and while Russell has made some plays on defense, he is far from being looked at as a positive player on that end. Russell working hard during the off-season to improve on the defensive end would go a long way in showing how committed he is to leading the Lakers in the coming years.