It doesn’t feel like D’Angelo Russell has put together a signature outing yet this season, but the Los Angeles Lakers’ offense is humming up and down the court when he has the steering wheel. The Lakers are playing at the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA, averaging 104.38 possession per 48 minutes. The Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns round out the top of the league, respectively.
The Lakers have to be effective while they push the tempo, and they’re at their finest when Russell has the keys. Los Angeles averages 104.7 points per 100 possessions while D’Angelo is in the game, a bit over their team average (102.4) and well above his on-court offensive rating of 97.3 in his rookie season.
The numbers check out with the eye test, and D’Angelo is fueling the Lakers by pushing the pace and facilitating. Digging through the details there were some interesting finds, like the team shooting five percent better from three-point range while Russell was on the court, or that his usage rate is nearly identical to that of Kyrie Irving (30 to Irving’s 30.1).
The wins may not be there as validation, but there’s progress being made. We dug through the crates to take a closer look at how D’Angelo is controlling the uptempo offense, with some stats and notes sprinkled in:
*Stats via nba.com.stats