Monday was the first official day of the D’Angelo Russell era in Brooklyn after the team held its press conference welcoming him to the team. The recent move has been a polarizing one amongst fans. There are many who feel giving up Brook Lopez dismantled the hopes of success, some who feel acquiring a former second overall pick and coveted young player was well worth it no matter the cost, and others who feel the need to constantly point out Russell’s flaws.
Russell dealing with a constant flow of love and hate from fans and media is nothing new. It was his everyday life during his two years in Los Angeles. To help get a better understanding of D’Angelo Russell’s time with the Lakers, I figured it’d be best to bring in an expert. I was fortunate enough to get Harrison Faigen, Associate Editor-in-Chief of Silver Screen and Roll and co-host of the Locked On Lakers podcast, to answer some of my questions. You can follow him on Twitter and be sure to check out his work on SSR and subscribe to Locked on Lakers.
NL: When the trade went down, you were the first person I thought of. What are your thoughts on it? If the Lakers don’t land a premier free agent, how bad of a move was it for LA? Who do you think won the trade?
HF: The only way this trade isn’t a clear win for the Nets is if a) D’Angelo Russell completely busts and/or b) the Lakers don’t sign anyone with this cap space in 2018. If their big plans of luring multiple big fish to Los Angeles don’t work out and Russell develops like I expect, this one is going to sting the Lakers for quite a while.
NL: I get the feeling fans and Lakers beat writers were divided on Russell, as a player and person. How do you think Brooklyn will like him? Do you think he will like Brooklyn?
HF: A ton of die-hard Lakers fans are incredibly broken up about this trade, and a bunch of other Lakers fans think it was a great move, which is actually a fitting response to end his Lakers tenure.
Russell was the most polarizing player among his own fanbase I’ve ever seen. Those that liked him cited the per-36 numbers he put up for his age being near players like LeBron and Magic Johnson and his feel for the game, while others saw a turnover-prone player who didn’t shoot above 50 percent. I predict much of the same in Brooklyn unless he comes out firing on all cylinders this season.
For what it’s worth, I thought he was the Lakers’ best young prospect at the time of the trade and think he’s going to be really good. We’ll see if I’m right.
NL: You and I have discussed Lin’s time with the Lakers a little bit in the past. How do you think Russell fits in with Jeremy Lin? Do you think their skillsets will complement each other or clash? Do you think they will get along?
HF: Well given that Lin seems to get along with everyone (besides Carmelo Anthony, apparently) I don’t see any way they won’t get along.