When the Los Angeles Lakers traded Russell Westbrook away at the trade deadline, they got several role players back to fill the various needs of the roster.
D’Angelo Russell headlined the Lakers’ return and so far his second stint with the team that drafted him has gone well for the most part. Russell instantly blended in next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis during the regular season, though his performance in the Play-In Tournament and first round has left much to be desired.
Game 2 against the Memphis Grizzlies was another rough outing for the former No. 2 overall pick as he shot a paltry 2-of-11 from the field in the loss. Russell has struggled with the physicality the Grizzlies present on defense, often getting knocked off balance or being forced into poorer shots. However, Russell didn’t seem to mind the looks he was getting as he chalked up his terrible shooting night to just missing them.
Russell is the nominal point guard in the starting lineup, so it was a bit unusual to hear him dismiss the designation in his postgame interview, via Bleacher Report:
"(I'm a) basketball player, you can't keep saying point guard. …basketball player with this team, not really a point guard role."
– D’Angelo Russell on his role with the Lakers
(via @SpectrumSN) pic.twitter.com/plq0UFVtrQ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 20, 2023
While Russell is certainly responsible for getting the team into their sets and organizing the offense, the truth is LeBron James will dominate his fair share of possessions any time he’s out on the floor. The crafty guard is an unselfish passer with a knack for hitting players at the right time, but perhaps he’s also referring to his other responsibilities that include spotting up and providing spacing for the two stars.
It’s hard to say whether or not Russell is unhappy with his role, but for the most part, he’s done well with his on-ball opportunities. Hopefully this was just frustration from the Game 2 loss talking because the Lakers will need Russell to be at his best when Game 3 tips off back home in Los Angeles.
Anthony Davis liked his shot selection in Game 2 against Grizzlies
Like Russell, Anthony Davis also had a subpar performance in Game 2 as he managed to convert just four of his 14 shot attempts. The quiet night was unexpected as Davis absolutely dominated in Game 1, but he didn’t seem too concerned about his offensive game as he also said he liked the shots he was getting.
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