Lakers News: D’Angelo Russell Tries To Make Up For Lack Of Athleticism With Work Ethic
D'Angelo Russell, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Lakers re-signed D’Angelo Russell last offseason, most assumed it was more because the team wanted a trade piece. Considering Russell waived a provision that would have given him some control should the Lakers want to deal him, it all made sense.

But to the surprise of many, Russell is turning in an outstanding season, particularly since he was re-inserted into the starting lineup. For the season, Russell is averaging 17.7 points and 6.4 while shooting a career-high 41.7% from 3-point range and committing a career-low two turnovers.

It has been excellent to witness Russell’s high level of play as many had written him off as being any kind of major impact player on a good team, pointing to his defensive deficiencies stemming from a lack of speed and athleticism. But Russell is aware of his physical shortcomings and makes up for it with his work ethic.

“I don’t keep up with the numbers, I just hoop,” Russell said after the Lakers’ win over the Washington Wizards. “What you see is kind of just a product of me hooping and just trusting my craft… That’s all I really got is that work and that ethic because guys like me aren’t in this league for no reason.

“You don’t see a lot of me’s in this league as far as unathletic, y’all are laughing, but like finding a way to be valuable and be relevant to a team in the style that I do it. I’m probably the slowest guy in the NBA, but I still try to be in the right places and study the film and work my way into the right positions and the right places to help the team.”

In terms of point guards, Russell very well may be the slowest, but he puts in the work both on the court and in film study to find ways to be effective. On offense, he uses his handles, works angles and changes speed in order to get where he wants, which along with his vision and shooting makes him extremely difficult to contain.

Defensively, Russell will never be a one-on-one stopper, but he is great at reading the opposition to jump the passing lanes and his size allows him to not get taken advantage of in the post. Russell has really come into his own and is more proof that skill and hard work can outweigh pure physical tools.

Lakers D’Angelo Russell worked on no-dip 3-pointers because of LeBron James

Something that has caught the eye of many watching the Lakers recently is D’Angelo Russell knocking down these 3-pointers without taking a dip that most do when shooting from deep. Russell revealed these no-dip 3s are something he has worked on because of playing with LeBron James.

“Just skill, I work on it,” Russell said. “It’s the first year I’ve had to work on things like that being around one of the best players ever LeBron. He throws some of the passes you’re not expecting. They get there. They might not be the best pass every time, but they get there. So for me, I try to practice with Micah and those guys on ways to prepare myself for those game-like passes and it’s working.”

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