D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers has been polarizing since entering the league. From the moment the Lakers first selected him, the criticism of him not becoming a star started coming out. For someone who is pretty much new to the league, people were already scrutinizing the former Buckeye like he was already a star.
So far into his second year in the League, with a new coach in Luke Walton, D’Angelo has been showing that he has that star potential. For some reason however, most NBA fans aren’t really talking about him, like what he’s doing is pedestrian. Well, allow us to point out what this kid is actually doing and that he indeed DOES have that potential to be a star in the NBA.
For context, we’ll compare his stats to stats of All-Star caliber guards (Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden, and Chris Paul) when they were in their second year in the League. We will also use Per-36 minutes stats because not all of them averaged similar minutes per game.
Without further ado, the evidence.
Per 36 Minutes Stats (PTS, AST, Rebounds, Steals)
D’Angelo Russell: 21.1 PTS, 6.3 AST, 4.8 Rebounds, 1.6 Steals
Stephen Curry: 19.9 PTS, 6.2 AST, 4.1 Rebounds, 1.6 Steals
Russell Westbrook: 16.9 PTS, 8.3 AST, 5.1 Rebounds, 1.4 Steals
James Harden: 16.4 PTS, 2.9 AST, 4.2 Rebounds, 1.5 Steals
Chris Paul: 16.9 PTS, 8.7 AST, 4.3 Rebounds, 1.8 Steals
Damian Lillard: 20.8 PTS, 5.6 AST, 3.5 Rebounds, 0.8 Steals
Let’s rank the stats for context.
In this group of 2nd year guards, D’Angelo Russell averaged the most points, is top 3 in assists, and is 2nd in rebounding. Russell also is tied for 2nd in steals per game. Take a look at the company he is in, and take a look at how he’s actually holding his own against these all-stars in their 2nd year of their respective careers. Oh and by the way, D’Angelo is the youngest in this group at this point in their careers.
Of course D’Angelo has to brush up on a couple of things such as an maintaining a more efficient FG% and less turnovers, but that is something that could be fixed by simply gaining more experience in the NBA. His defense also needs some work but as previously mentioned, that is something that could improved with more experience.
It is pretty clear that D’Angelo Russell has been producing solid numbers so far and that he indeed has that star potential for the Los Angeles Lakers. I for one am pretty annoyed at that narrative that the Lakers don’t have a “potential star” because the statistics are clearly there for D’Angelo. I could also say that he passes the eye test for determining the star, he has that modern NBA game and that attitude to be better and be the best that he can be. He has the shooting and the handle that most All-Star guards have.
Video courtesy of: RedPoints Sports
And to all the “fans” that are already counting him out: why are you? Have people forgotten that he is a 2nd year guard? Or are people thinking that he’s already a veteran in this league? Just why? It’s just illogical.
Can people stop criticizing the kid and actually recognize that he has been solid and has THE star potential? The evidence is there, both in numbers and in the eye test. If you think that D’Angelo Russell doesn’t have star potential, it might be time to reconsider that.
Featured Image Credits go to: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports