The Lakers Should not Sign D’Angelo Russell

Call it nostalgia, call it desperation, but an idea has entered the Los Angeles Lakers community.

The Lakers should take this opportunity to sign D’Angelo Russell, arguably the Lakers worst first-round draft pick of the last 10 years. Where did this thought come from? More importantly, why? Adrian Wojnarowski informed the general public this week that the Lakers found a way to clear enough cap space for another max player.

The Numbers

Russell ranked 6th in the NBA in usage last season. That puts him up there with players like James Harden, the Greek Freak and Joel Embiid. With that high of a usage rate, Russell barely managed to squeeze into the All-Star Game. Add to that, Russell was not ranked in the top 50 in the NBA in either defensive rating or offensive rating.

Russell also failed to make the top 50 in terms of true shooting percentage which more accurately takes into account free throw percentage, three point percentage and two point percentage.

Russell had a good season, but he simply is not worth max money even to a team that’s in win-now mode. Time will tell, but I’d be willing to bet that last year was a blip on the radar not the norm and like I just explained, it wasn’t as good as it actually seemed.

The Logic

Let’s just think about what it means for Russell to come back to Los Angeles. The Lakers traded Russell away at the beginning of 2017. From 2017 to 2018, Russell improved statistically, but the major issue for Russell when he left the Lakers was maturity. Are we assuming that has somehow changed because he had a decent year? He had talent, but the question was did he have it between the ears?

Many outlets pointed out that during Russell’s stint with the Lakers, the young point guard was aloof and immature. Blame it on age, blame it on whatever you want. These Lakers simply don’t have time for it. With the trading away of almost all of the young core and picks to add Anthony Davis to the team, the Lakers signaled they were in win now mode.

Why bring on a player who had a decent year, but we aren’t even sure has matured? Is he somehow suddenly supposed to carry himself like a 10-year veteran? On top of that, the Lakers would be paying Russell a lot of money to return. Doing that would put them in a delicate situation both financially and on the court. In my opinion, with the climate in Los Angeles, the Lakers don’t have time for “Hopefully”.

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