2022-23 Los Angeles Lakers Player Review: D’Angelo Russell
D'Angelo Russell, Lakers
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers knew they needed to make a change at the trade deadline during the 2022-23 season as their playoff hopes were fading fast. Despite strong showings from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the roster was clearly not fitting as well as it could so the front office went out into the trade market to address it.

They succeeded massively as the Lakers were able to turn Russell Westbrook’s $47 million expiring contract into D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley. Russell, in particular, was the headliner coming back to Los Angeles as it marked his second stint with the team after making a few stops around the league.

The guard was in the midst of having his best shooting season statistically, though the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t seem very interested in re-signing him in free agency. Thus, Russell returned to the purple and gold and gave the offense a massive lift with his outside shoot and secondary playmaking ability.

His fit next to James and Davis was perfect and the trio was able to get L.A. past the Play-In Tournament and into the playoffs.

While Russell was great during the regular season, the same couldn’t be said about his postseason run as he struggled nearly every other game. Offensively, Russell just couldn’t seem to get a shot to go some nights while defensively he got picked on by every opposing team the Lakers faced. He did have a few moments that swung games in favor of the Lakers, but overall it wasn’t what someone would expect from the third-highest paid player on the team.

2022-23 Highlight

The first round against the Memphis Grizzlies was a tough one for Russell as they were physical with him on both ends of the floor. After a solid Game 1, Russell only managed to score five points in Game 2, which resulted in a blowout loss for L.A.

The former No. 2 overall pick bounced back at Crypto.com Arena where his timely shooting helped give the Lakers a 3-1 series lead. A loss in Game 5 brought the series back to Los Angeles and it was in Game 6 where Russell reminded fans how he could be so valuable.

Russell dropped a series-high 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting including going 5-of-9 from distance. It was an exciting shooting display that got the crowd going and the purple and gold into the second round.

2023-24 Outlook

Russell will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer and there are rumblings that the team would prefer to use him in a sign-and-trade to bring back another starting-level guard. However, the Lakers are also reportedly mulling over a front-loaded two-year deal which means he could return for the 2023-24 season.

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