Lakers’ star D’Angelo Russell had a terrible playoff last season. Sadly, the team could not make the NBA Finals, and fans blamed him for the team’s failure to make the finals. D’Lo really could not successfully shoot three-pointers in the Western Conference Finals. Moreover, he was not very effective in the Laker’s defense either. That’s what the Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray duo used to their advantage pretty well.
Russell’s failure to guard Jokic and Murray cost the LA side dearly. Recently, the Lakers finished the preseason with a 2-4 record. Apparently, it didn’t really go their way. But from the coaching standpoint, the team is on the right track. Coach Darvin Ham is very positive about the team’s chances this season and feels D’Lo will have a bigger impact this year.
Darvin Ham Says D’Angelo Russell Showed Positive Tenacity In The Preseason
It was Ham who sidelined D’Lo in the conference finals in the last season after seeing him struggle. But this preseason proved he is ready to take the challenge. Recently, Darvin Ham told Michael Corvo of Clutch Points that Russell’s main weapon is his tenacity. The atrocious campaign he had with the Denver Nuggets is just fuel to the fire that he needed to help his team win titles. Ham also believes that Russell has been firing on all cylinders in the preseason. It should really benefit the LA Lakers to have D’Angelo Russell at his ultimate best, and will hope that he continues it throughout the season.
However, Darvin Ham also told The Athletic’s Jovan Buha that his team is still lacking at the defensive end. Even Anthony Davis pointed out earlier that there is a lack of transition in the LA side’s defense. The 17-time champions have been facing the issue with transition at defense since last year. They really need to sort it out quickly because history might repeat itself again. Especially when the Lakers will face the Nuggets again. The new reigning champions are the strongest offense in the league. If the Lakers don’t get it right, then the great offseason activities might go in vain.
Can D’Lo Prove The Lakers Faithful Wrong This Season?
After the last season, the Lakers Faithful trolled and criticized D’Lo for his poor performance on social media. But it was not for him, as a lot of other guys failed, too. However, at one point, it seemed the Laker’s front office was ready to trade D’Angelo Russell. But to everybody’s surprise, the Lakers retained D’Lo. Later, prior to the training camp, Darvin Ham shocked the fans, saying that the player would be the fourth starter of the Lakers. In fact, Russell’s contribution was immense during the last regular season for the Lakers.
Since he returned to the LA side last February, things have changed dramatically for Darvin Ham’s side. Of course, it was not just D’Lo but also Jarred Vanderbilt and other guys who played their roles brilliantly. But D’Lo looked more impactful in the last regular season. However, Vando is better in the defense. Nevertheless, Russell looks to answer his critics with even more impact in the 2023-24 season. Moreover, he looks like a man on a mission in the preseason.