After being with his family in Louisville following the passing of his grandmother, D’Angelo Russell went through his exit interview today at the practice facility for the Los Angeles Lakers in El Segundo.
Russell spoke with the media after talking with Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka, and head coach Luke Walton. D’Angelo says the Lakers brass emphasized a few things he needs to improve upon moving forward, via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News:
“Leadership, consistency and changing my body as much as possible,” Russell said following his exit meeting on Tuesday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo.
The second-year guard talked about why he lacked in the leadership department. Russell believes it comes down to consistency and the fact he simply wasn’t good enough in that category to earn respect as a leader, via Medina:
“You need the credibility to a certain extent, but if your teammates see you doing it and what you’re trying to preach or they witness you trying to do the right thing at all times when no one is looking, it gives them a better perspective on you,” Russell said. “I feel like this year for me, it wasn’t consistent enough with my play, with my communication and everything. It wasn’t consistent enough for them to respect what I had to say.”
Over the course of his second season with the Lakers, the Ohio State product made some considerable improvement in a few different areas. Russell continued to show potential star of the future for this team, but as he and the front office made clear, consistency has been a problem.
If Russell can make strides to improve his consistency along with his leadership skills, the 21-year-old and Brandon Ingram could become a formidable duo in the NBA. Both players have shown flashes of brilliance on the court and may very well be the future of the franchise in the post-Kobe Bryant era.
In 63 games during the 2016-17 campaign, Russell averaged 15.6 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 40.5 percent from the floor and 35.2 percent from beyond the arc.