Through three preseason games, the Los Angeles Lakers have looked like a much-improved team from last season. The defense is better, the offense is more fluid, and in these last couple of games, D’Angelo Russell has looked like he is ready to take a leap this season.
The Lakers improved to 2-1 in the preseason with Sunday night’s victory over the Denver Nuggets, and their one loss came in the final minutes of a game in which they played the end of their bench. It is still preseason, so it’s hard to read too much into everything, but the Lakers have certainly looked more promising.
After only 17 wins last season, the Lakers have a long road to get back to a respectable level amongst the NBA’s top teams, but Russell is ready to put teams on notice. After the game, Russell spoke about what he is looking for in the rest of the preseason on Spectrum SportsNet (via Lakers Nation’s Ryan Ward):
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) October 10, 2016
Russell has said that he has a chip on his shoulder this season and it is showing. After an impressive 21 point performance in the Lakers’ second preseason game, he was flat out dominant on Sunday night, pouring in 33 points on 13-19 from the field.
The young talent on the Lakers is obvious as Russell, Clarkson, Randle, Ingram, and Nance Jr. have all shown serious potential. But as Russell has spoken about, the Lakers lack an identity. The preseason could be the perfect place for the Lakers to establish that.
The Lakers have a long way to go, but the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to get brighter. Russell wants to let it be known that team is on the rise and that starts now.