D’Angelo Russell’s maturity has seemingly been an issue ever since he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. There’s no doubt Russell has a high ceiling in terms of potential and could be a star in the making, but his lack of maturity has some wondering whether he has what it takes to be a leader of the storied franchise.
Former Lakers head coach Byron Scott and Russell never really saw eye-to-eye in their one season together. After being fired by the Lakers this past summer, Scott even went as far as to say that two never developed a relationship.
Recently, on AM 570 LA Sports, Scott talked about his former point guard and claimed Russell’s maturity issues are what is holding him back from reaching his potential:
“He still has a lot of growing up to do. He still has a lot of room to improve. There’s times where you see flashes of what we feel that he can be and I’m sure [the coaching staff] feel that same way, that this guy can be a great player in this league. But he’s gonna have to grow up. He’s gonna have to take the responsibilities of being one of the leaders of the team and one of the better players of the team, and until he does that, he’s gonna keep having these up and downs.”
Much like his rookie campaign, Russell has struggled to play consistently well on both ends of the floor. At times, Russell looks like the player the Lakers expected he’d become with the guard putting up solid numbers across the board and then other times Russell’s presence seems nonexistent usually resulting in another loss for the team.
Scott went into more detail about Russell’s potential and how it is on him to put in the work to become the great player people expect him to be, via AM 570 LA Sports:
“But I still think the kid has the potential to be a great player. Now, will he reach it? That’s really strictly up to D’Angelo; he has to put in the work […] You gotta be out there early, you gotta work your butt off to get to where to you want to get to. It’s not gonna happen overnight. You gotta put in that effort every single day. If practice is only two hours, you gotta be out there on that floor maybe three and a half hours.
“And you still have to have that mindset if you wanna be great in this league. It’s not given to you […] When he starts to really, really grow up and mature […] then hopefully he can reach that potential.”
The Lakers brass doesn’t seem ready to give up on Russell, nor should they be this early in the development process for a young player. Although Russell still has his supporters in Los Angeles, it remains to be seen how long that will last if maturity continues to be a problem.