D’Angelo Russell says he doesn’t deserve promotion to starting lineup

Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell dribbles past Mavericks guard Raynond Felton during a game at Staples Center on Jan. 26.

Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell dribbles past Mavericks guard Raynond Felton during a game at Staples Center on Jan. 26.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Lakers rookie guard D’Angelo Russell took responsibility for his poor performance Thursday night in a loss to the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center.

“Personally, for me, lackadaisical turnovers,” Russell said concerning his play against the Bulls. “I take the blame for a little bit of that. I’ve just got to be better.”

Russell scored just three points -- missing six of seven shots -- and all-star Jimmy Butler picked him clean for back-to-back steals, leading to consecutive layups and an 18-point Chicago lead in the first quarter.


Taken in June with the Lakers’ second overall pick, Russell has backed up second-year guard Jordan Clarkson at the point for most of the season.

“I’ve never really played point guard in my life. I went to college, I was a basketball player and I played every position. I got to this level and point guard was just thrown at me, so it’s something you’ve got to adjust to. It’s the hardest position in this league. I’d rather it be hard now than later. I’ll figure it out.”

Coach Byron Scott initially played Russell and Clarkson together in the starting lineup, but Russell was eventually relegated to the bench.

Before the game, Scott said he’d likely put Russell back into the starting lineup after the All-Star break in mid-February.

“I think it’s important because we want to see him against these top-tier guys again,” Scott said. “I want to see how D’Angelo reacts a second time around.”

Russell acknowledged that he hasn’t earned a promotion.


“The way I’m playing, I don’t think I deserve that,” he said. “I’ve just got to stop being lackadaisical.”

What can he do to improve his approach?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve just got to take every rep like it’s your last. You can’t really take any of it for granted.”

“I’m trying to push the pace, and if a team takes away what you’re used to, you’ve just got to keep the dribble or stay patient and look for another combo,” he said.

Russell said he still believes in himself.

“The confidence will always be there,” he said, but he admitted he was impatient while waiting for his play to catch up.

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