Los Angeles Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell had one of his best games of the early season so far.
In the Lakers loss to the Orlando Magic, Russell totaled 14 points, six rebounds, and three assists. More importantly, Russell played a team-high 31 minutes, including seven in the fourth quarter.
Russell found himself playing a key role for the team down the stretch of a very tight game and when asked about it, Russell showed his trademark confidence according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
I asked D’Angelo Russell about (finally) having the ball in his hands with the game on the line. “I’m built for this,” he said.
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) November 12, 2015
Russell’s confidence has never wavered despite his minutes being inconsistent so far in this early season. Many fans had been calling for Russell to get more minutes in the fourth quarter and he earned them with a solid performance on this night.
The question now is if Russell will be able to build on this performance. While he played well offensively, there were still some issues defensively. Russell also had some uncharacteristic turnovers, totaling three on the night.
Expectations for Russell have been extremely high, sometimes leading to some unfair criticism this season, but Russell has always embraced everything that comes with being the second overall pick. As long as his confidence remains the same and his game continues to develop, Russell should be just fine.