Though it is only six games into the 2015-16 NBA season, second overall pick D’Angelo Russell hasn’t quite had the performances that some of his fellow rookies have enjoyed so far.
Russell has begun to look more comfortable in recent games, but is clearly still figuring things out at the NBA level.
Russell’s leadership and playmaking abilities were big reasons why the Lakers wound up selecting him in June, but that hasn’t been on display as of yet. In fact, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Russell and Scott have basically split playcalling to this point:
D'Angelo and Byron said they have split play calling "50-50 thus far. Byron has "no timeline" on when D'Angelo will just call plays
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) November 10, 2015
This likely has to do with Scott not completely trusting his rookie point guard just yet. In the opening game, Scott chose to let Jordan Clarkson handle the primary ballhandling duties, though that quickly changed. Kobe Bryant in particular, has constantly praised the rookie and has referred to him as an excellent playmaker.
Russell has been hit with some unfair criticisms this early in the season, though he also has lacked aggressiveness on the court at times. His potential remains extremely high and once he gets a better feel, it would be wise for Scott to let Russell handle things on the court as that will allow him to develop into what the Lakers believe he can become.