Lakers News: D’Angelo Russell Explains How He Improved On Catch-And-Shoot Attempts
D'Angelo Russell, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

A key adjustment for Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell is learning how to play off star players. During his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he had to do so with Karl Anthony-Towns and Anthony Edwards, and now he has LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers.

Since coming into the league, Russell has been a ball-dominant player known for creating his own shots, but now he is making that adjustment off the ball, which is something that lengthened his career as a player who can be a part of successful teams.

This season featured a lot of off-ball success for the 28-year-old as Davis and James have put him in great scoring positions as of late. He shared his development of becoming one of the better catch-and-shoot players in the league.

“At Ohio State, I was the opposite,” Russell said. “I didn’t really get a lot of catch-and-shoots. I had the ball in my hands a lot. I give credit to being traded. When you get traded, you’re in situations, opportunities. I remember in Minnesota, I had a bunch of just star power around be with Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, guys like that. So for me, playing with those guys, I knew the ball wasn’t gonna be in my hands. So I had to add a catch-and-shoot to my game, and that’s when I got the work in at practices. Then when I got here, I was ready to catch-and-shoot on top of being able to shoot off the dribble.”

While it seems like a simple skill to have, team success needs to have capable shooters surrounding stars. While James and Davis can find Russell in his spots, not every pass is perfect, so the 6’3″ guard often practices receiving all sorts of passes when working on his shooting.

“I think once I realized I’m not gonna get any better as an individual basketball player, I’m kind of just getting better at what I do,” he said. “I learned after 8-10 years in the league where my shots are gonna come. When I watch countless amounts of film, I see the shots I don’t get and I found I was wasting my time working a little in practice. So I try to just harp on things that I can control and where I can get my shots and I see me getting tough passes and there’s a sense of me in that moment saying that I can still shoot it or yeah, that pass wasn’t good, but that distraction is what forces you not to shoot it or decide to shoot a tough one.”

“When I get it, if it’s a good pass or a bad pass, it already feels comfortable because I’m practicing bad passes. A lot of shooters want the seams and all that lined up, but I know I can catch-and-shoot and I know I can shoot off the dribble and when I’m off the dribble, the seams aren’t really right so I kind of have to have positioning and lean into it with your body and trust your jumper. I’m trusting my jumper with the most upright confidence I can have right now, so it’s working for me.”

The saying practice makes perfect is evident as Russell is shooting a career-high 42.4% from the 3-point line on 6.8 attempts. Spacing is key for the two Lakers stars and having a quality shooter like Russell is a great asset to have down the stretch of the regular season.

Max Christie takes inspiration from D’Angelo Russell’s mental approach to each game

A lot of time passed since Russell’s first tenure with the Lakers as he is now with a veteran L.A. squad and demonstrating great maturity. With Max Christie being the second youngest player on the team, the former Ohio State Buckeye’s mental approach to every game has inspired the second-year guard.

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