Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell got off to a rocky start in the preseason opener. Russell scored only four points in the win over the Sacramento Kings earlier this week and admitted his performance was ‘average.’ The second-year floor general quickly bounced back from the forgettable preseason opener with a game-high 21 points against the Denver Nuggets on Friday.
Luke Walton has praised Russell quite a bit since becoming the team’s new head coach. Walton has let it be known he’s confident in Russell’s leadership capabilities, and now he believes his starting point guard can put up the points on a nightly basis, via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News.
“I don’t think he goes out and hunts them,” Walton said of Russell. “As a point guard, he’s got a lot more responsibilities than just getting his average. But he has the ability and skill to average 20 points a game.”
With Kobe Bryant now retirement, it’ll be interesting to see which player steps up offensively. Russell is without a doubt one of the team’s best scorers and is more than capable of averaging 20 or more points a game this season.
Last season, Russell averaged 13.2 points per game and scored 21 points or more 13 times during his rookie campaign. The former Ohio State star showed his scoring potential back in March when he lit up the Brooklyn Nets for a career-high 39 points.
In Walton’s system, Russell could become the player he leans on to shoulder the load offensively. Whether he averages 20 or more points a game remains to be seen, but he seems capable and will the opportunity to put the numbers this season.