EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Lakers’ guard D’Angelo Russell has been a clear offensive leader for the team through the first three preseason games. It is no secret that Russell has struggled to keep pace on defense at times even during the Lakers’ Western Conference Finals playoff run last season. In his second season back with the Lakers, Russell is taking accountability for his lapses on defense.
“Last year they found a way to get me off the floor by not playing defense I guess, so trying to be a reason to eliminate that,” Russell told Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Bresnehan. “Not give them a reason to not have me on the floor. Try to be as dangerous as I can on offense, try not to be a liability on defense, so that’s what I’m working on. I’m trying to do it now before the season, so continue to practice those good habits.”
During Wednesday’s win over the Sacramento Kings, Russell led the team with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting with eight assists in 21 minutes. By acknowledging his shortcomings on that side of the ball, Russell has invoked confidence from his teammates that he will continue to improve.
Rui Hachimura is encouraged by D’Angelo Russell’s commitment to improving on defense
Injury Updates and Availability
Austin Reaves will play in Friday’s preseason game vs. the Warriors
Jarred Vanderbilt will miss his this straight preseason game
Lakers power forward/center Jarred Vanderbilt (left heel soreness) will miss his third straight preseason game according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. He is expected to be ready for the season opener against the Denver Nuggets on October 24.
The Lakers will play the first preseason game at Crypto.com Arena on Friday against the Golden State Warriors. This is the Lakers’ second matchup against the Warriors this preseason; the first was the opening game which resulted in a 125-108 Los Angeles loss.