The injury suffered Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell does not seem to be an extremely serious one as he is expected to return in just a couple of weeks. It does, however, come at an unideal time for both he and the team.
The Lakers’ young core was beginning to come together amidst a strong start to the season and now that progression is seemingly on hold with an extremely difficult stretch upcoming. Russell, however, doesn’t completely agree with that.
Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters asked Russell about the frustration of being sidelined as the Lakers’ young core was growing, and Russell believes that the team building will continue even as he’s hurt:
D'Angelo Russell: "It can still be done without me. I feel like I'm a piece of it, but I feel like it allows guys to step up."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) November 26, 2016
There is no doubt that Russell is a huge part of that young core and his loss will be felt throughout the team. He does make an interesting point about it giving more opportunities to other players to take on larger roles.
Chief among those players is rookie Brandon Ingram. Russell is the top playmaker, both for himself and others. With him (and Julius Randle) sidelined, Ingram becomes arguably the best shot creator for he and his teammates.
Jordan Clarkson has also seen an increased role and will have to become more of a playmaker instead of strictly a scorer. Likewise Randle, once healthy, will be heavily relied upon to step up in Russell’s absence.
There is no doubt that the Lakers’ young core is growing and Russell’s injury is undoubtedly a setback, but there are plenty of great players on the Lakers who now can step up and grow even more rapidly. They must take advantage of that so when Russell does return, the Lakers will really be a force.