After a relatively mediocre rookie campaign in which expectations were quite high for the 19-year-old lottery pick, D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to get right back in the gym to re-tool his game. Though Russell was admittedly frustrated with his play at times throughout this last season, the Ohio State product gave Lakers fans more than enough glimpses of his electrifying ability.
While Jordan Clarkson is working on improving his long ball, Russell has turned his focus to an area that’s vastly overlooked especially with all these young guys coming into the NBA. The Second-Team All-Rookie selection talked about his focus this offseason in a phone interview with Lakers reporter Joey Ramirez
“I’m just living in the weight room, just trying to become stronger. Last season was a shock playing against grown men that have been in the league for multiple years. You compare your strength to theirs and see where you really are. That’s something I want to focus on in the offseason.”
Lucky for Russell, his 6’5 frame still has yet to mature fully given that he is currently just 20 years old. Packing on a few pounds could only compliment his offensive repertoire.
“Being stronger will help me post up more than just point guards throughout the year. I try to post up and take advantage of smaller guards. I was successful at times, but being stronger will help me post up multiple different positions than smaller guards.”
Coming in many were aware of Russell’s ability to take defenders off the dribble, but many were surprised to see his ability to post up effectively. The average distance on Russell’s field goal attempts last season came from 15 feet out where he shot just 41 percent. Adding some muscle could help him clear up some space for some better looks on the perimeter.
In a Western Conference that is chalk-full of elite point guards, it is important that Russell uses this offseason to gain every advantage he can as he is surely expected to carry a much larger offensive load.