He’s got ice in his veins and he’s not afraid to show you. Third-year PG D’Angelo Russell has already had a notable career despite his short tenure in the league. The Ohio State University attendee was picked second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2015 NBA draft.
DLo came to the City of Angels during a tough transition period when Laker-great Kobe Bryant was being ushered out, and new young blood was being infused in. Most of the trouble came in the locker room, but on the court there was no doubting his talent. Buzzer beaters, steals, and-1 plays, intense staredowns- D’Angelo Russell was the beginning of the culture revamp in LA that excited fans and gave them hope. The two parties could never fully give the other what the other needed. Russell was traded to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this year, offloading Timofey Mozgov’s contract and creating space for their new rookies, including his replacement Lonzo Ball.
When asked about the trade, Russell has been positive toward his former team. It didn’t help however that all summer, the Lakers’ management was giving interviews citing his lack of leadership and maturity as being the reason why they ultimately chose to move on. All things considered, he has plenty of reason to search for retribution in his new city, and so far so good.
The Nets as a team have had a rocky start (3-5), losing Jeremy Lin to injury. Lin was their leader in scoring average, assists, steals, & PER per game. Russell has been amazing offensively, however, tying the Brooklyn Nets team record for most points scored by a player in his debut (Nate Archibald- 30 pts). He shot 54.5 percent from the field, and also added five assists and three rebounds.
As of November 1, Dlo is among a short but impressive list of players averaging at least 20 points, five assists and four boards, joining LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry and James Harden. Eight games in with the Nets and playing 7 of the 8, Russell is averaging 21.7 points, 5 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in under 30 minutes (albeit with 4.3 turnovers).
Friday, November 3rd is the day when Revenge Russell gets to make his homecoming debut at Staples Center. Friend and old teammate Larry Nance Jr admitted to checking the Nets box score every night to see how D’Angelo has been performing. On the LakersNation podcast with Trevor Lane, he playfully wished Dlo the best against every team except the Lakers. Unfortunately, Nance Jr. will not be playing in tonight’s game after breaking his hand last night. Coach Luke Walton also commented on how he expected nothing less than greatness from the young point guard.
D’Angelo Russell and the Lakers had a messy relationship, but after any breakup, both parties have to move on and get better. The Lakers moved on, and seem impressed with their point guard Lonzo Ball, who seems to contrast D’Angelo- he passes first and leads his team fairly quietly on and off the court. Revenge Russell is loading in Brooklyn offensively and when he has gotten a handle on his defense, he will be a problem. It will be fun to watch the two go head to head and see who comes out on top!