The Lakers have seen him both grow and shrink. But lately, Lakers rookie forward Brandon Ingram has mostly stayed on the court in crunch time so he can fully blossom.
The Lakers have seen him show both flashes of greatness and inconsistency. But lately, Lakers second-year guard D’Angelo Russell has mostly sat on the bench without an opportunity to provide a happy ending.
While Ingram and Russell might represent two key pieces of the Lakers’ young core, they also represent contrasting views on how Lakers coach Luke Walton wants to develop them.
In the Lakers’ 97-96 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday at Staples Center, Russell sat out the entire fourth quarter after logging only eight points on 3-of-9 shooting and committing more turnovers (five) than assists (one). In the past four games, Russell has not cracked the 30-minute threshold. And though Russell has felt more empowered with Walton’s free-flowing offense and a starting position that has never been yanked other than injuries, Russell has logged less playing time under Walton (26.4 minutes per game) than during his rookie season under former Lakers coach Byron Scott (28.2).
Russell said afterwards he has not talked with Walton about this reality.
“He pretty much goes with who’s really playing well at the time,” Russell said. “And that’s the best way you can go about it.”