Nets’ D’Angelo Russell ‘wanted to play defense in L.A.’

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 26: D'Angelo Russell
BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 26: D'Angelo Russell /

D’Angelo Russell hasn’t made many friends during his time in the NBA, and his lack of defensive intensity in L.A. was just a piece of the puzzle.

The Brooklyn Nets are attempting to dig themselves out of a hole at the moment, and D’Angelo Russell is the young player they have hitched their wagon to. That is probably not the best plan. Russell’s time with the Los Angeles Lakers was full of losing and drama. He secretly filmed his teammate, Nick Young, admit to cheating on his partner, and the Lakers never even sniffed the playoffs.

Russell was traded to the Nets shortly after Magic Johnson became the man in charge, and the Lakers have since moved on to dub Lonzo Ball the future of the franchise. Magic claimed Los Angeles needed a “leader” and a point guard “players want to play with” on the team. Ouch.

Russell might enjoy being in the Brooklyn area for marketing reasons, but the losing will continue with himself and Jeremy Lin running the backcourt.

The Lakers appear to be on their way up, and the Nets don’t look like they’ll be winning anytime soon. The main difference between the teams from this season to last is D’Angelo, but the point guard disagrees with Magic’s assessment.

“I think guys enjoyed playing with me,” Russell said to ESPN. “Now I’m going to make sure they do instead of not really taking it into consideration. I think it’s under control, but I never thought it wasn’t.”

D’Angelo has talent on the offensive side of the ball, even if he doesn’t want to share it, but it was on the defensive end that he was horrendous last season. He contends that will not be the case next year.

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“I wanted to play defense in L.A.,” Russell said. “But I felt like I had to score every chance I got for us to be relevant.”

You won’t find many who believe that he would be an elite defender on a playoff team, and it’s not as if he ever made the Lakers relevant due to his scoring. He might have put up numbers to help secure his next contract, but he certainly never brought “Showtime” back to Los Angeles.

Let’s see if Russell will put his money where his mouth is and finally play some defense in Brooklyn, because he definitely won’t make them more newsworthy with his scoring.