Through five preseason games, the Los Angeles Lakers have shown the ups and downs of a young team. Centered on learning a new offense, head coach Luke Walton has point guard D’Angelo Russell steadily progressing and running the offense.
A point guard always must remain an extension of the coach on the court, relaying play calls and designing plays in order to help make the offense fluid. While it is an up-tempo offense, half court sets always remain an essential fundamental part of successful basketball teams.
The differences between his rookie campaign and second season have had immensely different results. While clashing with former coach Byron Scott, Russell’s growth stunted and his production hindered.
Russell went as far as to say that he learned nothing from his first Summer League experience, a hint at the lack of direction he received.
Alas, Russell has found a coach to thrive under. The “breakfast club” worked vigorously under Walton throughout the summer, taking direction in order to progress their game.
Throughout the preseason thus far, Russell has had mixed results. The 20-year-old posted a double-double in the loss to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. He hauled in 31 points and 11 assists in the loss.
Backcourt mate Jordan Clarkson has witnessed the development of Russell, stating he is growing into his role as the leader, via Joey Ramirez of NBA.com:
“He’s really slowed down,” Jordan Clarkson said. “He lets things come to him. He’s been able to get us into plays, make plays for other people (and) at the same time get his own shots and score baskets. He’s really coming into that role as a point guard and helping us lead the team.”
Walton called the loss the most complete game Russell has had thus far. Russell burst open with 10 points in the first quarter.
Walton gave credit to his second-year point guard, calling Russell coachable thus far into his tenure as head coach.
The Lakers gear up for their Saturday contest against the revamped Golden State Warriors, with a 7:00 P.M. start time. Russell will have quite the matchup, potentially guarding two-time MVP Stephen Curry.