The Los Angeles Lakers had high hopes when they drafted guard D’Angelo Russell with the second overall pick in last year’s draft, though the team maintained that he was a project with a lot of room to grow.
Russell surely had his ups and downs this season, but had plenty of moments where he showed flashes of stardom and he was rewarded for that by the NBA and its voters.
The Los Angeles Lakers announced that Russell was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team on Thursday:
Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell has been named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team, it was announced today. Russell is the second consecutive Laker to be honored with an All-Rookie team selection, joining Jordan Clarkson who was selected to the First Team last season, and is the fourth Laker in team history (Kobe Bryant and Travis Knight in 1996-97 and Nick Van Exel in 1993-94) to be awarded Second Team honors.
Russell finished ninth overall in Rookie of the Year voting so being named to the second-team was pretty much expected. Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns and New York Knicksbig man Kristaps Porzingis were both unanimous selections to the All-Rookie First team where they were joined by Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Denver’s Nikola Jokic, and Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor.
Joining Russell on the second team was Miami Heat wing Justise Winslow, Denver point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, Indiana big man Myles Turner, and Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein.
Making the All-Rookie second team instead of the First Team should not be viewed as any kind of disappointment for Russell. He had a fine rookie season, but ultimately his inconsistencies hurt him in the eyes of voters. Additionally, Larry Nance Jr. received three votes for second-team and Marcelo Huertas received a single second-team vote.
Russell finished his rookie season averaging 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals. Hopefully with a summer of improvement, and the addition of new head coach Luke Walton and a new offensive system, Russell will be able to improve on those numbers and make a leap next season.