On Friday, Day 1 of the NBA summer league in Las Vegas, Lakers rookie D'Angelo Russell faced off against Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns, the only player drafted ahead of him. On Day 2, Russell went against Philadelphia's Jahlil Okafor, the third overall pick whom many assumed would end up a Laker.
Comparing a point guard's play with that of a center is like comparing apples with oranges, but on an individual level, Okafor was more impressive on Saturday. He had 19 points and 11 rebounds while demonstrating a better set of skills defensively, which many have come to expect. Russell, meanwhile, had 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
When it came to shooting the ball, Russell was significantly more aggressive than he was on Friday, when he took eight shots. But he wasn't particularly accurate against the 76ers, knocking down four of 15 shots from the field during the Lakers' 68-60 win.
Russell showed an ability to convert contested mid-range jumpers, creating space against defenders with his off hand. He also had a couple of impressive passes on fast-breaks, one of which led to a Larry Nance Jr. dunk.
“In transition, I was trying to get easier buckets, trying to look to facilitate a little bit more," Russell said.
Turnovers are still an issue. Russell had five against the Timberwolves and seven against the 76ers. He admitted that it was the aspect of his game that needs the most work.
“Turnovers, that’s what I look at the most," Russell said. "I’m a risk-taker, but at this level those really add up. In college, you can kind of get away with it."