The discussion about the minutes of rookie D’Angelo Russell have been ongoing seemingly since the outset of the regular season.
Many fans were frustrated that Russell would sit out entire fourth quarters, but head coach Byron Scott maintained that the second overall pick had to earn his minutes and would not get thrown out on the court just because of his draft status.
Russell’s play has begun to improve in the last couple of games and his minutes have seen an uptick as a result. According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Scott has an idea of the minutes range he wants for Russell:
Byron said hope is to get D'Angelo to 30-35 minutes per game. But Byron added, "That's up to him."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) November 24, 2015
That final quote from Scott lines up with what he has been saying throughout the season. He won’t give Russell minutes just because he’s the second pick as Russell will have to earn them. If his play of late continues, that should be no problem for Russell.
Against the Toronto Raptors, Russell dropped a career-high 17 points, and he followed that up with an impressive 13 point, nine rebound, six assist performance against the Portland Trail Blazers. Russell seems to be getting more comfortable in his role on the floor and his play is a reflection of that.
Things have been a little bumpy early on in the career of Russell, but he has handled it well. If he continues on this path, his minutes will be right where they should, and hopefully the questions about whether the Lakers made the correct choice will begin to disappear.