No member of the Los Angeles Lakers young core has come under more scrutiny over the past couple of years than second-year point guard D’Angelo Russell. While he has been extremely inconsistent in his young career, Russell showed his outstanding potential on Sunday night.
Against the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, Russell scored a career-high 40 points to go along with six assists. This came in Russell’s return to the starting lineup after coming off the bench the last couple of games.
With he and Jordan Clarkson starting in the backcourt, Russell took on more of the shooting guard role while Clarkson handled point guard duties. But according to the Lakers official Twitter, Russell doesn’t really care about positions:
D'Angelo Russell (40 pts): "Whatever position they have me on the court — I'm a basketball player, not a point guard or a shooting guard."
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 20, 2017
The good thing about the Russell and Clarkson pairing is that they are both interchangeable as far as positions go. Both are capable of running the point and initiating the offense or playing off the ball and finding creases in the defense to attack.
In this day and age, positions are becoming less important as more players are becoming comfortable playing wherever they need to at the time. The Lakers have experimented with this themselves as rookie Brandon Ingram has often operated as the point guard despite technically being the small forward, or even the power forward based on height.
The most important thing for the Lakers and Russell is to figure out where he is most comfortable and keeping him in those positions and situations. Nights like this show what Russell is capable of and the Lakers will need more of that moving forward, regardless of what position he is playing.