Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell’s sophomore season wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it also never quite ascended to the lofty heights some projected for him heading into the year.
Russell averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists, while assisting on over a quarter of the Lakers’ baskets while on the floor, the highest rate on the team among consistent contributors.
While he surely wants to continue to improve his averages in those categories, the goals Russell told the media about at his exit interview Tuesday (as transcribed by Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News) were more intangible.
“Leadership, consistency and changing my body as much as possible,” Russell said, and the latter was theme of the Lakers’ exit interviews.
Julius Randle also said he wanted to get in “the best shape of his life,” and when looking at the team’s numbers and Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton’s preferred style of play, it’s easy to see why.
The Lakers ranked sixth in the league in pace last season, and if that’s an indication that Walton wants the team to continue to get out and run, it makes sense for Russell, Randle and the rest of the team to attempt to whip themselves into peak condition.
Whether it leads to them running over the league or off of a cliff will depend on the other improvements the Lakers make over the summer, but it’s a good sign that the team appears to have consistent plan for the offseason.