While the 2016-2017 season was a disappointment for Laker fans, there was one positive aspect that shined through. D’Angelo Russell was able to improve his stats across the board, even during a year that saw his minute fluctuate.
D’Angelo increased his point total by 2 points a game, and added 1.5 a game to his rookie season average. That might not seem like a whole lot considering he was the primary ball handler on the team, but considering the poor talent around him, it is a huge step up. Let’s go ahead and take a look at his per 36 stats.
When all things considered, this is D’Angelo Russell’s most impressive stat. Having Russell’s name on this star-studded list surely gives Lakers fans hope that he will soon blossom into a star player.
D’Angelo is most effective when his 3-point shot is falling. When his shot is dropping, his confidence is through the roof and he has the range to pull up from anywhere behind the arc. He shot 35% from behind the arc this year, an average mark for a player that shoots as much as he does. Look for his 3-point percentage to increase if the Lakers are able to add another offensive talent in the offseason that will draw defenders away from Russell.
His ability to make plays for others and also fit passes into spaces that others can’t make him truly special. Unfortunately this is also the reason he commits so many turnovers. His confidence in his own passing ability will sometimes force him to pass the ball into a tight window and it will result in a turnover. However, Russell has a knack for finding the open teammate and making a flashy pass as well.
For Russell to truly become a star, he is going to need to improve his defensive game. Head Coach Luke Walton showed that he is willing to play his players extended minutes regardless of their offensive output as long as they try on defense. This is Russell’s downfall though, as when he is missing shots, he has his head down on defense.
Overall, look for Russell to improve his scoring output to almost 20 points per game next season once he gets another offseason under his belt. The future is bright with Russell, as long as he keeps his head on straight.