D’Angelo Russell Aims to Emulate Derrick White’s Defensive Prowess Ahead of 2023-24 NBA Season

Russell's dedication to improving his defense has impressed both fans and rivals alike

In anticipation of the 2023-24 NBA season, Los Angeles Lakers starting point guard D’Angelo Russell has emerged as a hot topic in the basketball world. Following a postseason marked by criticism for his subpar performance against the Denver Nuggets, fans and analysts were eager to see how Russell would respond.

In the early stages of the preseason, Russell has showcased remarkable improvement. He recently expressed his desire to emulate Boston Celtics point guard Derrick White’s defensive prowess, aiming to contribute to his team’s success by making winning plays on the court. This revelation garnered praise from Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, creating a rare moment of mutual respect between two historic rivals.

Key Takeaways:

  • D’Angelo Russell has drawn attention with his impressive performance during the early preseason games.
  • Russell aims to model his defensive game after Derrick White, emphasizing the importance of making impactful plays.
  • Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla expressed excitement over Russell’s commitment to improving his defense.

During the Western Conference Finals, Russell’s defensive struggles were evident as he was often played off the floor, posing a significant problem for the Lakers. Determined to avoid a repeat, Russell dedicated his offseason to refining his defensive skills, ensuring that his team wouldn’t face a similar setback in the future.

“Last year they found a way to get me off the floor by not playing defense, I guess,” Russell said. “So, try to be a reason to eliminate that. Not give them a reason to not have me on the floor. Try to be as dangerous as I can on offense and try not to be a liability on defense.”

Per Jovan Buha and Jay King of The Athletic

As the preseason progresses, Russell’s impact on both ends of the court has not gone unnoticed by other NBA players and teams. His commitment to defensive improvement is commendable, and the results are starting to show. The Lakers are hopeful that Russell can maintain this level of performance as the regular season approaches.

“But Russell is currently playing with a sense of urgency – on both ends, but especially defensively – that belies his typically laid-back demeanor. And it’s translating on the floor this preseason, with Russell commanding the Lakers’ offense with an expert’s touch (25.4 points and 9.1 assists per 36 minutes in the Lakers’ four games thus far with a 72.4 true shooting percentage), and becoming something of a defensive playmaker, averaging 1.2 steals and 0.8 blocks in 20.7 minutes per game.”

Per Jovan Buha and Jay King of The Athletic

If D’Angelo Russell can even come close to emulating Derrick White’s defensive prowess, the Los Angeles Lakers will find themselves in an advantageous position for the upcoming season. With the new NBA season just around the corner, Lakers fans and the organization are excited to have Russell on their roster, eager to witness his transformation and the potential benefits it may bring to the team.

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Gary Lee

Gary Lee, a mainstay at LA Sports Report, is not just a sports writer; he's a veritable institution in the realm of sports journalism. With an extensive and illustrious career that boasts stints with notable platforms like Sports Illustrated, Gary has consistently showcased an uncanny knack for capturing the essence of the game, regardless of the sport. His prowess isn't limited to the written word alone; Gary's vast experience extends to creating and curating sports websites, providing fans with in-depth analysis, up-to-date news, and captivating stories. For readers keen on insights into the Clippers, Dodgers, Galaxy, Kings, LAFC, Lakers, Rams, UCLA, and USC, Gary is your go-to guy.
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