The Los Angeles Lakers make a whole lot more sense on paper following the trade deadline as they’ve got more shooting and spacing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Trading away Russell Westbrook seemed like an inevitability, and despite a lack of leverage, they were able to turn his $47 million expiring deal into D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. The three newcomers have made an immediate impact as they were quickly inserted into the starting lineup and Los Angeles has gone 2-0 since the change.
Russell was the key piece coming back in the Westbrook deal and he offers a blend of outside shooting and playmaking that works perfectly next to the Lakers’ two stars. Prior to the game against the Golden State Warriors, Steve Kerr talked about Russell and how he’s been able to fit so well next to James and Davis right away.
“Great fit because DLo can really shoot and pass and those guys give him a lot of support both defensively and then also in terms of letting him get off the ball some,” Kerr said before Thursday night’s game. “LeBron will have the ball in his hands a lot so DLo can be a spot-up shooter or play pick-and-roll. It’s already shown that it’s a good fit for him. He’s played really well for them.”
Kerr is familiar with Russell as the guard spent a season with the Warriors before he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Andrew Wiggins. While it didn’t work out in Golden State, Russell has been the shot in the arm the Lakers needed to bolster their playoff chances.
While Los Angeles would go on to blow out Golden State, they did receive a scare as Russell was ruled out for the remainder of the night after spraining his ankle in the first quarter. Fortunately, X-rays came back negative and he didn’t require an MRI, signaling that the injury isn’t considered serious.
Hopefully Russell doesn’t need to miss any time as the final stretch of games is going to make or break the Lakers’ season and they’ll need all the help they can get.
D’Angelo Russell includes LeBron James and Anthony Davis in his all-time starting five
It must be a full circle moment for Russell coming back to Los Angeles as he gets to suit up next to James and Davis as they chase another championship. Making things more surreal for him and the fans is that as a rookie he actually had James and Davis on his all-time starting five that he’d like to play with.
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