There has been a lot of discussion on social media about whether or not Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell is a bust. People are saying that the Lakers made a huge mistake in not taking Porzingis, or Okafor, or really anyone drafted after the second overall pick.
I say to those people you are one-hundred percent wrong.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but during the days before the draft, didn’t the scouting reports tell us that D’Angelo Russell was going to be a long term project, that he was less NBA ready than KAT or Okafor?
So why are some expecting him to be a lights out player after eleven games, and in a system where his talents aren’t being showcased?
Also, when did we start determining a player’s worth by their first 11 games? Was Steph Curry an MVP candidate after 11 games? Was Kawhi Leonard Defensive Player of the Year after 11 games his rookie year? Let’s take a step away from bashing on the kid and focus on the facts.
He is 19-years old, younger than me by nearly two years. He’s playing roughly 25 minutes per game, and isn’t being put into a system that plays to his strengths. He’s been told that he isn’t playing with enough fire and his reportedly hasn’t told him what he needs to do differently to succeed and be in the lineup more frequently. Above all else though, the only way to learn how to play the game at an elite level is by putting in the time. He may not be an All-Star caliber player after his first eleven games, but who is? The reason why players like Kristaps Porzingus, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Jahil Okafor are succeeding is because they are being played in situations beneficial to their talents and skill, and they were more NBA ready in the first place.
So I’m pleading with all Lakers fans. Please, be patient with Russell. He doesn’t need the negativity, he already has a coach calling him soft and not telling him what he needs to do differently. Don’t be part of the problem. Stick with the kid, and we can evaluate his worth in 2 or 3 years when things are a bit more clear.