The D'Angelo Russell era with the Los Angeles Lakers is seven games old. It could be going better - a lot better.
Russell, the smooth left-handed guard who starred at Ohio State for one season before declaring for the pros, was taken by the Lakers with the No. 2 pick in last spring's NBA Draft. It was a pick pretty much unanimously liked by the fans and the analysts. CBS graded the pick an A+; Bleacher Reported graded the pick an A; Yahoo graded the pick an A+.
Mitch Kupchak's team took Russell over Kristaps Porzingis, the 20-year-old, 7-foot Latvian who was seen as more of a long-term project. “(We) just thought it was going to take him some time (to develop),” head coach Byron Scott said.
Russell looks like he's the one who's going to need some time to develop, though. Porzingis has averaged 11.8 points and 8.3 points a game so far, with an above-average PER of 17.65. Russell, meanwhile, has a well-below league average PER of 11.15. He's played poorly and he's been given a short leash by his head coach.
Scott's publicly scorned him for his play, saying it needs to greatly improve for him to get critical minutes, and last night, he had him on the bench in the fourth quarter of a game that was already in hand. It's just a mess.
">November 11, 2015
Someone who got more minutes than Russell last night is this guy, 32-year-old rookie Marcelo Huertas.
It basically comes down to this: Russell hasn't been good, but the Lakers (1-6) have been even worse. Los Angeles is going nowhere this season, other than to the top of the NBA Lottery. You've got a young, promising 19-year-old guard in Russell who you took with the No. 2 pick in the draft. See what you have in him.
The Lakers' future is years away, why not start preparing for it? Play Russell. Let him play through mistakes. There will be a lot of them, but that's OK. The more losses this season the better, anyway.