Despite coming out of the All-Star break on fire, D’Angelo Russell has found himself back on the bench. Head coach Luke Walton announced that Jordan Clarkson would start the team’s game against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
Walton said the decision to bench Russell came so that the two guards could split ball-handling duties. The switch didn’t pay dividends in the Laker’s first game as the team got blown out. Clarkson finished with 19 points, on 7-18 shooting, and three assists. Russell didn’t fare much better as he finished with 10 points, on 4-14 shooting, three assists and three steals.
The move is undoubtedly Walton’s most questionable as Russell has been playing quite well since the calendar turned to 2017. With Russell the perceived future of the franchise, his move to the bench definitely raises some red flags.
It is worth noting that Russell did play 28 minutes in Monday’s loss and Walton has said the second year guard will continue to see close to 30 minutes as the season progresses.
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