FutureStarr

D'Angelo Russell Shines on the Court: A Look at His Stats

D'Angelo Russell Shines on the Court: A Look at His Stats

D'Angelo Russell lived up to his reputation of a fourth-quarter assassin on Friday in Utah. The Minnesota Timberwolves point guard has an iconic celebration that suggests "ice in his veins," and was responsible for carrying the offense throughout. Russell has proven himself an impressive force since coming over from Brooklyn Nets. Let's take a closer look at some of his statistics. 1. Average Points Per Game D'Angelo Russell has provided Los Angeles Lakers with everything they've been missing all season - scoring, assists and energy to power them to victories. In his two games back from an ankle injury, Russell has delivered exactly what the Lakers required from him - scoring, assists and the kind of presence the Lakers have been missing since their star player went down earlier in the season. Russell has long been revered for his scoring prowess, and this season is no different. In fact, he's posting some of the highest scoring numbers of his career so far with 24.8 averaged per game during his first two years on the Lakers. At first glance, that may seem like an impressive performance from someone acquired at last year's trade deadline by the Lakers, but there's much more to Russell's game than just scoring points - he is also an invaluable distributor who helps set up Anthony Davis on offense. Russell deserves All-Star consideration for more reasons than one: He not only averages over 20 points per game but his shooting efficiency has steadily improved throughout the season. Though Russell struggled on defense during his first two seasons with the Lakers, he is slowly showing signs of improvement on that side of the court as well. Although still progressing slowly in that area, he's definitely trending upward - as soon as he feels more at home on defense, his performance will improve significantly and become one of his team's staple players. With enough help on this front from Lakers management and other sources if required, Russell could become an unforgettable piece for this franchise. 2. Assists Per Game Following an eventful rookie season that featured an on-court sex scandal with pop-star fiancee Iggy Azalea and an unsatisfactory marriage with the Lakers, Russell has shown great maturity since. He's proved himself as an invaluable floor general within an NBA rotation; having such a talented squad around him only helps. Russell may not be the premier point guard in the league, but he's been instrumental in leading the Lakers to an unexpectedly strong start this year. Russell boasts an effective passing game which gets the ball into teammates hands quickly; plus he's shown impressive prowess from beyond the perimeter as well. Russell has made waves this season thanks to his impressive shot-making. Averaging more than his career high of 2.6 three-pointers per game and shooting efficiently from that range. Though always adept at shooting threes, now Russell is showing that he can consistently do so. Of course, his offensive prowess doesn't come without drawbacks. Because he's carrying such an enormous load on the court, his defense has suffered. Not that it should come as any surprise, as his lack of quickness laterally or length prevents him from excelling as a defender; still his anticipation and quick hands enable him to pick off passes whenever necessary despite not reaching All-Defense Team status; nevertheless he has improved greatly this season at picking his spots defensively which should prove particularly key as his load increases on court. 3. Rebounds Per Game D'Angelo Russell, selected as a second-round draft pick from Ohio State in 2015 and signed to the Los Angeles Lakers, has earned himself a reputation as an effective point guard; however, his focus with them has primarily been distributing rather than scoring the ball this season. Russell leads his team with 5.5 assists per game and averages 3.3 rebounds per contest this season. Russell also proves himself as an effective defender - not due to physical qualities like speed or length but because his smarts and anticipation allow him to find ways of picking off steals from opponents or getting hit out of bounds from opponents' shots on occasion. D'Angelo Russell led the Los Angeles Lakers to victory against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, contributing 19 points (7-17 FG, 1-5 3Pt and 2-2 Free Throws in 30 minutes of play), four rebounds and five assists as part of a 116-99 Lakers win over Golden State. Russell's aggressive scoring style propelled the Lakers to an early lead and displayed the versatile abilities that make him such an effective pick-and-roll point guard. Not only can he shoot well from distance but he can also dance effortlessly around screens without touching it! As the series shifts to Oakland, much of the focus will remain on Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson; however, Russell should not be discounted from consideration as an integral player on this championship contender's rotation. With his versatile skill set that fits well amongst league's premier scorers and team-first approach, Russell makes him an essential component. Russell is having one of the best seasons of his career, which only makes him more appealing as free agency approaches. Performances such as Friday's underscore his worthiness for another lucrative contract this summer; his performance against the Warriors only cemented this fact further. Russell would make an ideal player to pair alongside 38-year-old superstar LeBron James and build winning teams; Friday's match-up further confirmed this truth. 4. Three-Point Percentage Russell has shown in both of his games since returning from injury that he can be relied upon to lead his team in late-game situations - his six threes in Friday's win against Utah are just the latest example; two weeks prior he scored 15 points during a fourth quarter win over Indiana. Russell must continue to develop one area of his game that needs improvement: getting to the free throw line. In his first season in Los Angeles, Russell has not averaged enough trips to reach among the league's top 60 shooters for free throw attempts. This issue lies within his shot selection, as the young point guard prefers taking jumpers from the wings or at the top of the arc over attacking the basket for layups or dunks. Unfortunately, this approach often isn't effective when taking an abundance of those shots, like he has done this year. Good news is that he appears to have understood the message about three-point shooting: He's shooting less threes but more successfully making them. Still, the Lakers would benefit more if he upped his attack at the rim instead of resorting to long jumpers altogether. At first glance, Russell seems more confident thanks to Kobe Bryant being in both the locker room and on the practice court, but for their playoff push to continue they must become more consistent; although that could take time given they're only halfway through his four-year deal; but if Russell can maintain an impressive start and continue performing like they've shown so far he might just prove worth taking. 5. Field Goal Percentage Russell has shown enough in his second NBA season to earn himself another chance. Though neither consistently impressive or appalling, his flashes of talent were too impressive to overlook. One area in particular needs improvement if he wants to become the type of complete player capable of leading a team all the way to victory - his defense. Russell is known for his shooting. While his ability to score off-dribble and in transition is impressive, he often settles for too many threes instead of finishing his drives properly - an inefficient method of attacking the basket ranked him as one of 195 players with at least 100 shots at the rim. Thankfully, the Lakers are improving in limiting those types of shots and Russell is becoming more comfortable attacking the basket - this was evident during their comeback win against Memphis as well as his 31-point, 4-assist performance Friday. Russell must be able to distribute and create with the ball as his primary ballhandling position requires him. His assist percentage was one of the top-10 rookie figures this season. Russell hasn't been an exceptional defender this season, which can be expected when assigned the task of guarding such talented scorers as Rudy Gobert, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns. While his long arms may make defending the paint difficult for him, his quick hands and anticipation make him a good option nonetheless.

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