D’Angelo Russell: Trade Deadline Acquisitions Brought Contagious Energy To Lakers
D'Angelo Russell Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It has been discussed time and again how the trade deadline completely changed the trajectory of this season for the Los Angeles Lakers. The front office bringing in D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and Malik Beasley mid-season improved the Lakers’ depth and gave the team exactly what it needed on both sides of the court.

The group fit in almost seamlessly and the Lakers have played much better basketball ever since, making the playoffs and taking out the second-seed Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. But as Russell noted, it isn’t just the skillset that helped this Lakers team improve, but also the energy that the trade deadline acquisitions brought in that has helped the team overall.

“I don’t think it was confidence lacking for our group,” the Lakers point guard said. “I think the energy since we made that trade or made the decision to bring guys here, we had an energy that was kind of contagious with our group and that was one thing we could kind of control. We always came with that energy every day, on the plane, on the bus, we wanted to make sure we were still us and we brought our us to this team.

“And it trickled down and it was contagious and guys from the younger guys kind of fell in line and it allowed everybody to want to see the next guy do better, play for the next guy. When one guy falls, the whole team is there. That’s the little things you don’t see, but for a team to be lacking that, you won’t notice it. But for a team to have that, you recognize it. So I just think that’s what the team was lacking and we brought that.”

Austin Reaves used the word ‘together’ when describing this Lakers team and Russell’s words mirror that sentiment. Everyone on this team supports each other and there is a real chemistry that has grown within this group despite the short time together. Everyone wants to see the others succeed and that energy is evident when watching the team.

For much of the year, it was a question as to whether the Lakers would even make the Play-In Tournament, but Russell, Vanderbilt and everyone else brought in have made such a huge difference that now an NBA Finals appearance could potentially be in the works if the Lakers continue to play at this level.

D’Angelo Russell says it felt good to see shots go down in Lakers’ Game 6 victory

One huge reason the Lakers find themselves in the second round set to take on the Golden State Warriors is because of Russell’s explosion in Game 6 of the first round. Russell knocked down 12-of-17 shots and 5-of-9 3-pointers to finish with 31 points in the dominant Lakers victory. And after a rough series overall, Russell was happy to see some shots fall.

“We’ve got a lot of great talent in the playoffs from the first round to the second round to the third round,” Russell said. “To dominate the game the way you dominate the game throughout the regular season, it’s tough. So to be in a position to actually make the shots I’ve been taking, making the shots I’ve been working on my whole career, so to finally make some is definitely a good feeling. But the win was better, to be honest.”

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