The Los Angeles Lakers were not very happy with D’Angelo Russell after the Western Conference Finals. It was a disaster as the eventual champions, the Denver Nuggets, blew the LA side 4-0. But the fans mostly blamed D’Lo Russell for his shocking performance in the WCF. Since then, there have been a lot of talks regarding the trade scenario of D’Lo. Unlike Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell was an unrestricted free agent. Hence, it looked like Rob Pelinka and his front office were ready to let D’Lo go. But somewhere in the middle of the offseason, the Lakers extended Russell’s contract for another two years.
The contract extension is worth $37 million for two years. Moreover, D’Lo has a player option in his second year. Hence, the whole situation for Russell does not look very solid. Anyway, Gabe Vincent has been a good deal for the Lakers. Last season, he played an essential role for the Miami Heat as they reached the NBA Finals. Ultimately, they lost to the Denver Nuggets. But the Lakers Nation and experts have a good feeling about the prospect of Gabe Vincent. However, as it seems the Lakers are sticking with D’Angelo Russell in the starting lineup.
Lakers Coach Says D’Angelo Russell Will Be In The Starting Lineup
Recently, in an interview, Darvin Ham mentioned after all that happened, it was not possible for the Lakers to make the postseason without D’Lo. Hence, Russell will be the Laker’s starting point guard. Hence, the starting lineup looks like this – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell. But the fifth spot is still open for either Jarred Vanderbilt or Rui Hachimura. But the 27-year-old point guard D’Lo Russell will have a point to prove next season. Indeed, he was instrumental in helping the Lakers make the postseason.
He was superb in the regular season and later also in the play-in game against his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last season, D’Lo started in 17 games for the Lakers and had an average of 17.4 points as well as 6.1 assists. Moreover, D’Angelo Russell shot 48.4% from the field and also shot 41.4% three-pointers. But then he faded away in the playoffs. If he keeps on struggling, the Lakers will have no choice but to replace him with Gabe Vincent in the starting lineup. But because of Russell’s heroics in the last regular season, the LA side wants to give him another try.
Who’s A Better Option – D’Lo Russell Or Gabe Vincent?
However, D’Lo must improve defensively as well as maintain consistency in his shooting. Moreover, he must perform much better in the postseason. There have been speculations regarding a mid-season trade. Perhaps, the Lakers are planning to trade Russell for a one-on-one deal or even a better trade package. Recently, there were talks about a trade for Kyrie Irving in exchange for D’Angelo Russell. Hence, there were always doubts about Russell finding a place in the starting lineup. Instead, the prediction was that Gabe Vincent, who came from the Miami Heat in the previous season, would take Russell’s place in the starting lineup.
However, Gabe Vincent is more likely to play the role of Dennis Schroder during the last season. On the other hand, the Gonzaga product has become like an understudy of LeBron James. He trained with LBJ throughout the offseason. Moreover, Rob Pelinka, Lakers GM, feels Hachimura will have a great season ahead. Pelinka says Hachimura had a personal renaissance as he trained with King James in the summer after the trade deadline. Hence, the Lakers have a lot of expectations from Rui Hachimura next season.