After the Western Conference Finals, speculation ran rampant that D’Angelo Russell might never don the Los Angeles Lakers jersey again. His subpar performance during crucial moments left many convinced that his time in LA had come to an end.
Surprisingly, a new deal was inked during this offseason, offering Russell a chance for redemption. Nevertheless, there’s a lingering possibility of a trade before the deadline if he fails to meet expectations. Russell is gearing up for another opportunity to prove his worth to the team, alongside the promising guard Austin Reaves in the LA backcourt.
In a recent NBA position ranking by Law Murray of The Athletic, the Lakers’ point guards were placed 19th in the league, while their shooting guards ranked 24th.
“Austin Reaves’ success as an undrafted free agent and bargain basement restricted free agent re-signing belies Los Angeles’ relatively low ranking here, but this isn’t a return on investment ranking. In a vacuum, there are several starters above Reaves that the Lakers would be satisfied to have from a production standpoint. That’s not a knock on Reaves, who will be a 50-40-90 threat, arguably the best playmaker in Los Angeles’ backcourt and a burgeoning free-throw merchant. But there are better defenders and teams with more depth at the position (Atlanta, Toronto, Sacramento, New York).”
The point guard position comprises Russell and Gabe Vincent, with Reaves and second-year player Max Christie holding the shooting guard spot. These rankings might raise eyebrows, particularly concerning the shooting guard position. While Reaves may not be a superstar, his contract is regarded as one of the NBA’s best. He showcased his ability to lead the Lakers during last season’s playoffs, suggesting that he’s being undervalued in the rankings.
Reaves is set to get more opportunities this season, building on the successful results seen in the postseason. His prowess in making crucial shots can elevate his game, and expectations are high for his progression as the season unfolds.
On the other hand, Christie remains somewhat of an enigma. Despite his impressive showings in the NBA Summer League, he remains an unknown quantity in the NBA. Considering this, it’s reasonable to view him as a question mark for now. In conclusion, while the Lakers’ rankings may appear low, it’s essential to remember that these rankings are subjective. Only time will reveal whether they hold any truth, and luckily, the new season isn’t too far away.