It is a return back to where things started for D’Angelo Russell with the Los Angeles Lakers, but this time the situation is much different. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way, it is all about competing for a championship, but the Lakers currently remain outside of the playoff picture.
The front office revamped the roster at the trade deadline as the Lakers brought in five new players with Russell being the biggest name of the bunch. Overall, the team is definitely more talented on paper than they were prior to the deadline, but they must also figure out chemistry with each other as well as the right lineups and rotations and don’t have a lot of time to do it otherwise they will be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
But Russell isn’t trying to hear about any of those excuses. Following the Lakers loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Russell said that every team is looking at the standings and trying to climb. But it will be up to the Lakers themselves whether they fall back on those built-in excuses, or push through them and make something happen, via NBA.com:
“I feel like every team in the league is saying that. Every team is saying ‘just one more, two more, we’re three games out, two games out.’ So it’ll just come down to actually doing it. Obviously we got all the excuses in the world to use, but Coach throws five guys out there, if they’re prepared we should have a chance, simple as that. With every five, especially if I’m playing, I’ll do whatever it takes to try to give us a chance. Like I said, we can’t dwell on it, but knowing that we have every excuse in the world to use, are we gonna use it or are we gonna just go out there and make something happen? Guys energy is good, I think the energy is shifting right now, we’re figuring it out and we want it so we’ll see.”
It’s harsh, but completely spot-on point from Russell regarding the Lakers’ situation. No one is going to feel sorry for the Lakers. This is the hand that they are dealt so they will need to make it work if they want to accomplish their goals.
Obviously it won’t be easy and there are things the Lakers will need to figure out quickly, but as Russell continued on, the more they focus on those excuses, the more they limit themselves:
“I think we kind of lack continuity on the offensive end so for us to be consistent I think we got to figure that part out sooner rather than later. Bad part is we got 20-something games to do it, not a lot of time. So like I said, if we’re gonna do it, let’s do it. If we’re gonna keep making excuses about all the things that we can make excuses about, it just kind of limits our opportunities. For me, I’m not putting it all on my shoulders, but knowing what I’m capable of, knowing that good, bad or in between that I’m still capable of doing what I’m capable of doing and not losing that confidence, knowing that you’re here for a reason. Just continue to look in the mirror, be honest with yourself. Never really too high on anything and never too low on anything as well. That’s the mentality.”
The Lakers have the talent to be a playoff team with LeBron and Davis leading the way, Russell as a third scorer, and a number of different role players who bring something different to the table. There is adversity in front of them and Russell wants to see them push through it and become as good as they are capable of being.
Darvin Ham to start D’Angelo Russell, Dennis Schroder in Lakers backcourt for foreseeable future
One bit of chemistry that will need to be figured out is in the Lakers backcourt with Russell and Dennis Schroder. The two have started together since the trade deadline and Darvin Ham says that will continue to be the case moving forward.
The Lakers head coach believes Schroder and Russell are different players whose games will compliment each other and plans on keeping them together in the backcourt for the ‘foreseeable future.’
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