Looking at the life of an NBA player, they have to listen to their friends and family, coaches, teammates, and even the media. So how does an NBA player deal with everything on their plate? They have to see how analysts around do not believe about them. There are new NBA players that are being scrutinized by the media and anything else about the player. They turn on a television and see how certain people do not like them or respect them.  But the real question is where does the actual hate come from with certain players? Are players being defined forever by one moment, or mistake in their life? This seems to be applied to one, D' Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers. Russell was the 2nd overall pick in the 2015 draft, and at the time a questionable pick to say the least. The Lakers, team with a lot of guards at the time needed a big man to help get rebounds for the aging team. But the team decided to elect to go with a guard nonetheless. As a freshman at The Ohio State University, D' Angelo Russell was seen as a great passer, who had a little bit of everything in his skill set. But ever since he has been in the NBA, there has seemed to be a lot of hate coming Russell's way for numerous reasons. 

During this past season, Russell's rookie year, fans saw a roller coaster of events that transpired over the course of seven months; such as his recording of teammate Nick Young divulging secrets of his infidelities, or his coach Byron Scott essentially not letting him make mistakes so he could from them, or even analysts around the nation not believing he is the "right" face to led this franchise to newer heights. Being a huge Laker fan and honestly a basketball purist, I can notice what a players strengths and weaknesses at first glance. Russell's playing style struck me very different due to him still being very raw of a player he can mold into a lot of different types. Russell over the course of the season developed somewhat of a post game similar to that of Kobe Bryant. The best thing that could have happened for Russell is to have played with a legend such as Kobe Bryant, who can teach you how to be great and survive for as long he did. But in Russell's case he has acquired a lot of hate throughout this past year since he was drafted. There are analyst who say he scores too much and does not pass, there are analyst who say he is too immature and will crumble. There are analyst who believe his game will not translate and he will fade into obscurity but, as fans we still have some hope that he will be a success for us. 

Russell's game is unorthodox in that at the point guard position he can do almost everything from shooting, to post work, driving the basketball, and his best attribute his passing skills. Russell's feel for the game is unparalleled and with his 6'5" frame he can see the court over lots of point guards in the league. But Russell is a player who was recruited out of high school as a shooting guard. He is without a doubt a combo guard. The guy is simply a combo guard who can pass exceptionally well. I believe that analysts who scold his scoring abilities should look at his more from a versatility standpoint and they will notice how great of a player his potential screams. 

In today's world of basketball, versatility is a great word to be associated with your name and your skill set. With players being able to do more things on offense and defense the sets that coaches can put in place are endless.  This is why his skill set is great for new head coach Luke Walton, because for a coach who preaches ball movement, and spacing, he is able to spread the floor and get everyone shots including himself. 

This hate that is directed towards D'Angelo Russell is unfair at times because he is too young and too raw to critique his game at times. He is growing as a player, and as a person. So for all of the haters out there I just have one question. Where does your hate for D' Angelo Russell come from, how do you come to realization that he is terrible or not a fit? 

Published by Darren Walker