At the 2015 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers surprised many by selecting D’Angelo Russell with the second overall pick. With every team seemingly having an All-Star point guard, the franchise felt Russell could lead them in the post-Kobe Bryant era along with Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.
During his first season in Los Angeles, Russell has experienced highs and lows. However, since the All-Star break, the rookie guard has been given an opportunity to start and play major minutes from head coach Byron Scott. In response, Russell is averaging 18.5 points and 4.4 assists in 31.3 minutes.
Following practice, Russell was asked who the toughest player he has had to guard according to Lakers Twitter:
D'Angelo names Russell Westbrook as the toughest player he's had to guard.
"He just goes right through you."#SuitingUpTogether
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 14, 2016
With point guard being the most talented position in today’s NBA, Russell has the difficult challenge of trying to slow them down every night. While Russell has shown his ability to score the basketball, he will need to work on his defense during the off-season.
Over the last couple of seasons, there have been debates between Westbrook and current league Most Valuable Player, Stephen Curry. With both players in their prime years, it will be interesting to see if Russell is able to be a part of the conversation down the road.
In 65 games, Russell is averaging 13.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.