D’Angelo Russell will be back in the starting lineup of the Los Angeles Lakers, as per coach Darvin Ham. However, just a few months ago, there were doubts about D’Lo moving to another team in the offseason. Anyway, he did not have a great postseason this year. Albeit, D’Lo was instrumental in helping the 17-time champions make the postseason. Hence, his contribution to the LA side in the regular season was impressive. But nobody knows why he faded away in the playoffs. Even coach Darvin Ham benched D’Lo Russell in the conference finals last season because his performance suddenly shrank.
The Lakers Faithful resented Russell throughout the offseason. However, lately, at a news conference, the Coach mentioned that D’Lo will join Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves, and LeBron James in the starting lineup as their point guard. This announcement surprised the fans even more. How can Ham choose Russell over Gabe Vincent? But Darvin Ham did say that they will tinker with the rotation. However, the fans and experts wonder why Russell agreed to return to the LA side.
Why Did D’Lo Choose To Stay With The LA Side?
Recently, D’Lo Russell expressed his sadness over all the resentment he faced from the Lakers fans on The Pat Bev Show podcast. It’s because even Russell could end up like Patrick Beverley, whom the Lakers traded last February. In the offseason, D’Lo was an unrestricted free agent. Moreover, Russell even expressed his desire to move to the Miami Heat, the last season’s runners-up. Surprisingly enough, the Lakers resigned him for a couple of years with an extension worth $37 million. On Monday’s Media Day, D’Lo mentioned the team made him feel welcome and genuinely interested in him. That’s what made Russell feel good about returning to the LA franchise. But why does the Lakers all of a sudden feel interest in Russell, who the fans blamed for the loss in the WCF?
Perhaps Russell’s performance in the regular season showed that he has a natural flow alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Hence, the Lakers might give him another chance to show his skills by wearing the purple and gold uniform. Moreover, D’Lo Russell’s ability to throw three-pointers is undoubtedly great. On top of that, he’s pretty good at passing as well. Hence, he fits pretty well with the stars on the court. It can open up a lot of opportunities for the LA side. But the major concern with Russell is his defensive abilities. However, he has been working intensively to improve his defensive skills. But if he fails to improve in the first half, then the Lakers might trade him in the mid-season. Like last season when he joined the Lakers, he’ll depart at the exact same time next season. It is a high possibility.
Who’s The Real Face Of The Current Lakers?
On the other hand, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith criticized LeBron James for calling Anthony Davis the face of the Lakers franchise. On the First Take, Smith mentioned if LeBron James is the GOAT and the face of the NBA, then how can he not be the face of his own team? How can Anthony Davis be the face of the Lakers when LBJ is still present in the team?
But Stephen A Smith added that when AD is healthy, only a very few people can be more valuable than him to their respective teams. However, in terms of longevity, LBJ is still senior to AD. James joined the Lakers in 2018, and Davis came a year later. Moreover, the fans still see James as the face of the Lakers. Hence, Smith is right about LBJ’s statement being debatable.