Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell has made noise from Ohio State University to stepping onto the NBA floor in Summer League for the Lakers. From being traded to the Brooklyn Nets in 2017, the Warriors in 2019, the Timberwolves in 2020, and now back to where he started, the Lakers guard looks to have a big leap for the team this season.
Analyzing D’Angelo Russell’s Impact For the 2023-24 season
Concern of Production
Russell has undoubtedly progressed through the years and will look to continue that in year nine. However, there have always been questions surrounding his production and how high his ceiling can go. Furthermore, joining the Lakers created a lot of media tension around Russell’s free agency this offseason and his output with the Lakers following the trade deadline.
He averaged 17.4 points on 48.4% shooting from the field and 41.4% from deep with 6.1 assists in 17 regular season games after the move. The Lakers went 12-5 in those games with a plus-minus of 7.3 points per game differential, according to ESPN Stats and Information research. His numbers dipped as he averaged 13.3 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.9 rebounds in 16 games in the 2023 postseason.
Russell was a major part of the Lakers’ Western Conference Finals run. But when it mattered most, he shrank. His numbers were hindered as the Lakers met against this year’s NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets attacked him relentlessly on the defensive end, leaving Darvin Ham with lineup concerns at the guard spot. This led many to believe he wouldn’t be back in a Lakers uniform for the upcoming season. Ultimately, this left uncertainty in Lakers nation for Russell’s spot on the roster. Despite all the noise, the Lakers organization showed its trust in Russell this offseason. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, he signed a two-year, $37 million contract to return to Los Angeles.
Potential Impact for 2023-24
From this previous year’s playoff run with the Lakers and the concerns of his roster spot, Russell looks to silence the noise. From his playoff exit interview to his offseason work and preseason play, Russell wants to have an impactful year for the Lakers. With quality production this offseason and showing signs of improvement this preseason, he wants to win. Thus, Russell is a player who understands what needs to be done to take that next step for himself and his teammates.
Of course, there is still concern. Even with the positive offseason and preseason work, it doesn’t always translate into production for the regular season and playoffs. In a preseason postgame interview, Russell talked about his inspiration, Derrick White, and wanting to make all the winning plays. Despite uncertainty about his production throughout the 2023-24 season, these are indicators in the right direction. Overall, the Lakers guard understands what it takes on and off the court. Namely how to become an impactful piece in another year for the Lakers organization.