HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — That’ll teach us all to make a snap judgment about a rookie plopped into the fishbowl that D’Angelo Russell was this season in Los Angeles.
The Lakers’ prized rookie didn’t look the part of the Draft’s No. 2 pick early on, when he couldn’t get on the right side of coach Byron Scott and the focus was on Kobe Bryant and what would become his farewell tour after 20 seasons on the big stage in Hollywood.
In the 53 games before the All-Star break, Russell averaged 12.2 points on 41 percent shooting, 33 percent from beyond the 3-point line, to go along with 3.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists. In the 12 games (and counting) since he returned from Toronto, Russell is averaging 18.5 points while shooting 46 percent from the floor and 46 percent from deep while playing just four more minutes per game.
It’s amazing what confidence can do for a talent like Russell, who is in the process of rewriting his LA story in the midst of Kobe’s long goodbye and one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
Russell’s rookie season has had its fair share of hiccups, but it will still include plenty of highlights, most notably that stunning upset win over Stephen Curry the reigning champion Golden State Warriors two weeks ago.
The best, however, Russell insists, is yet to come.
We dig deep on with Russell and the Lakers, discuss this week’s clash of the titans between the Warriors and San Antonio Spurs and more on Episode 231 of The Hang Time Podcast featuring D’Angelo Russell.
As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com, Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All-Ball Blog and renaissance man Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand.
VIDEO: After stumbling out of the gate this season, Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell is turning heads these days