Sunday night was an interesting one for Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell. He struggled shooting the ball from deep and also committed six turnovers. Yet when the Lakers were fighting back from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit there was Russell showing no fear as he hit consecutive three-pointers to give them a chance to win.
Unfortunately for Russell those two three-pointers were his only makes from deep as he shot only 2-11 from three-point range. More than anything it seemed to be an off night for Russell who missed a lot of open looks, but kept firing regardless.
Head coach Luke Walton came over from Golden State where the shooters always have a green light regardless of their percentage during the game. That may be part of the reason why Walton has a certain mindset when it comes to Russell taking three-pointers.
“With him there’s threes that are good shots when you’re hot, and then there’s threes that are good shots whether they go in no matter what. And those threes are once the ball’s been moved side-to-side and it comes back to you in rhythm and you’re open. Whether you missed nine straight or not I want you taking that shot if you’re him.”
Walton also explained the types of threes that he doesn’t want Russell taking, mainly ones where the ball hasn’t moved around yet. But even within that, there are exceptions that Walton believes Russell will pick up on with more experience.
“He’ll learn as he gets older and gets more experience that yeah, if we’re on a run and we have all that momentum, then even if it’s not him that’s hitting it, there’s times where you come down, you get that open look, let it fly because that could be a dagger right there.”
With Lou Williams gone, the Lakers are really lacking in the shooting department. In fact Russell and Nick Young are the only two players on the team who shoot better than 35 percent three-point range.
Russell still has plenty to learn and Walton has been working hard to get him to play the way he wants. There is a lot of room for growth and getting a hold on these smaller things will help Russell take the next step in his development.
**All quotes obtained by Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters unless otherwise noted**