With Magic Johnson now the president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, the storied franchise is entering a new era with a new regime determined to right the ship. D'Angelo Russell appears to be a major part of the team's future with Johnson wanting the young point guard to take more of a leadership role.
During the Lakers All-Access event earlier this week, Johnson talked about what he wants from Russell moving forward. Magic once again reiterated his desire to see Russell turn the corner and lead this team filled with young talent, via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation.
“What I want D’Angelo to do, is take this team in his hands, no matter his age, and just lead, and guys will appreciate that.”
Although Russell has shown a lot of promise over the course of his short time in Los Angeles, the Ohio State product has yet to take the next step in terms of becoming the star attraction and undisputed leader of this team in the post-Kobe Bryant era.
In the three games since Magic's announcement, Russell has played well with some impressive performances. D'Angelo has scored 18 or more in the last three games and is coming off perhaps his best game in quite some time with 23 points, nine assists, and two steals in the loss against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night at the STAPLES Center.
Whether Russell will ever live up to expectations in Los Angeles remains to be seen. The 21-year-old definitely has the skills to be a dominant player in the NBA, but he's struggled to play consistently well, and his leadership capabilities will continue to be put under the microscope by Magic and company.