Russell celebrated his first ever All-Star appearance this year and is averaging his career highs in points and assists.
D’Angelo Russell 2019:
20 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.1 steals
So how good can Russell be really?
Well, right now he’s probably good enough that the Lakers are regretting trading him.
Just check out his highlights from the other night
Russell absolutely TORCHED the Hornets over and over again at the end of the game.
He literally had “ice in his veins” and he showed it by hitting a three, then a midrange jumper, and another three to cap off the Nets comeback.
What kind of player can Russell be?
D’Angelo reminds me a bit of James Harden.
Now don’t freak out and over-react. He’s obviously nothing like the current MVP version of Harden that we see on a nightly basis.
But let’s do a quick blind comparison for reference:
Player A: 20 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and is shooting 45/37/82 splits
Player B: 16 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and is shooting 49/39/84
So player A is obviously Russell this season. Player B might surprise you.
It’s 2011-2012 James Harden. That would be Harden’s third year in the league just like 2019 is D’Angelo’s.
The Lefty Secret
It’s actually harder to guard a left-handed player. Harden once said in an interview that he scores two or three points a quarter simply because the defender forgets which way he wants to go.
His finishing is also different and the same is true with Russell.
When Russell attacks the basket he has all manner of awkward floaters that he can put up, and with his improved passing in the pick-and-roll he is seeing more and more success with his mid-range game.
Being left-handed definitely helps, and his elite three-point shooting is also really under-rated. As far as scoring goes I think Russell has a very high ceiling.
I think D’Angelo Russell is going to continue to improve his game and eventually be an annual all-star. One thing he could do to make himself more valuable as a scorer is by getting to the free-throw line more often.
As of right now, he only takes 2.4 free-throws a game. Getting into the paint and getting fouled can generate three to four extra points a game.
I think he can also improve as a passer. Passing is something that can be worked on daily with film and practice. If he could get even more comfortable as the lead ball-handler in the pick-and-roll he could average about eight or nine assists.
What you have there is a very compelling young player. Potential is a great word for it. Theoretically, he might not improve at all, much like Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins hasn’t changed since he entered the League. His game and statistics have been pretty static. But I don’t think Russell is the same way.
The change of scenery from LA to Brooklyn might be just what D-Loading needs to be successful.