After being selected with the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, D’Angelo Russell is averaging 10.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists. While Russell has struggled finding minutes in the fourth quarter, he has looked more comfortable in the past two games against the Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers.
With Russell playing limited minutes compared to other top rookies in his class, head coach Byron Scott has received a lot of criticism regarding how he is managing player development with not only Russell, but Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.
Although Russell has recently played more minutes in the fourth quarter, Scott was asked about the difference between Russell, Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving during their rookie seasons via Ryan Ward of Examiner.com:
Byron on D'Angelo compared to Kyrie/CP3 "I pretty much gave them the keys to the car right away. This kid had to earn it."
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) November 23, 2015
Unlike Paul and Irving who were given the keys to run the offense, it will take time for Russell to gain his head coach’s trust. When asked about making play calls himself, Russell recently shared he splits them with Scott.
With the Lakers preparing for the post-Kobe Bryant era, Russell is expected to help lead the franchise back to championship contention. However, the point guard position is the most difficult to learn and it will take Russell some time to learn his strengths and weaknesses in the NBA. Having said that, the point guard out of Ohio State has shown his potential in spurts, especially in the pick-and-roll.
Through the first 12 games of the season, the Lakers have struggled with executing in fourth quarters. Unfortunately, it will not get any easier as they embark on their longest road trip of the season that begins against the Golden State Warriors, who are undefeated.