The Los Angeles Lakers will head into their sixth preseason game on Saturday against a familiar opponent for new head coach Luke Walton. The first-year head coach will go up against his former team in the Golden State Warriors for the first time since leaving the Bay Area for Los Angeles.
After Lakers practice on Friday, Walton was asked if he’s seen any similarities between point guard D’Angelo Russell and Warriors superstar Stephen Curry. Although Walton has only been around Russell for a few months, he made the following comparisons with Curry, via Shahan Ahmed of NBCLA.com:
…I asked Luke if he saw any similarities between Steph and D'Angelo, just to clarify that Luke didn't just blindly make comparison.
— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) October 14, 2016
Earlier this week, Russell had a very poor shooting performance with the second-year guard going 0-for-9 from beyond the arc against the Portland Trail Blazers. Russell missed two of those three-point attempts in the closing seconds of regulation which would’ve propelled the Lakers to victory. The Blazers went on to win in overtime.
Fortunately, Russell bounced back with a vengeance on Thursday night in the team’s first of two preseason games in Las Vegas. Although the Lakers ultimately lost to the Sacramento Kings, Russell erupted for 31 points going almost perfect from three-point range (5-for-6).
Obviously, with Curry being one of the best players in the league, comparing a second-year player to the two-time NBA MVP isn’t fair. Despite that fact, Russell has put on some impressive performances with his shooting ability and may be in the conversation as one of the better point guards in this league in the near future.
The Lakers will go head-to-head with the Warriors on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena with Russell facing yet another elite point guard in Curry. This matchup will be one of two against Golden State in the preseason with the other set to be played in San Diego at Valley View Casino Center on Oct. 19.