LeBron James Sounds off on Polarizing Lakers Star’s Shooting Slump

Lakers star LeBron James (right) and D'Angelo Russell

Getty Lakers star LeBron James (right) and D'Angelo Russell

It has been four games since Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell went for 28 points on 11-for-17 shooting, including 6-for-12 from the 3-point line. Since then, Russell has been less than impressive, a common theme in what has been a season of swings for the polarizing point guard. Russell had just four points in Friday’s win over the Grizzlies, and shot 2-for-9 and 0-for-5 from the 3-point line.

In his last three games, Russell is shooting 9-for-39 from the field (25.6%) and 3-for-19 from the 3-point line (15.8%). Overall this year, Russell has averaged 18.0 points on 45.5% shooting and 41.3% 3-point shooting, a career high. But as well as Russell has played at time, the fear of a collapse lingers among the Lakers and their fans.

With good reason. Few will forget Russell’s awful showing against the Nuggets in the conference finals last year, when he was almost unplayable, and averaged 6.3 points on 32.3% shooting and 13.3% 3-point shooting.

But Lakers star LeBron James shrugged off concerns about Russell heading into the play-int tournament. “When D-Lo plays well, we all play well. When D-Lo’s aggressive, we all feel pretty good about that. He’ll find his shot, we’re not worried about that,” James told reporters.

Lakers Getting Gabe Vincent Back Slowly

James also said he has been pleased by the slow, steady progress being made as point guard Gabe Vincent works his way back into the rotation. Vincent was one of the team’s top acquisitions last summer, signing a three-year, $33 million contract after a successful run with Miami, but he has played only 10 games this season because of a persistent knee injury.

The team has been getting Vincent around 15 minutes per game over the last two weeks in an effort to bring him up to speed. James can see the value he brings.

“Gabe’s a winner, it’s that simple,” James said. “As he continues to get his legs up underneath him, hopefully he has enough time. Hopefully we continue to give him enough time to get his legs underneath him, But he’s a winner. That’s why we brought him on.”

LeBron James Dunks in Front of NBA’s Youngest Player

James was also asked about the thunderous two-handed dunk he used on Friday against the Grizzlies to help seal the game after a Memphis turnover with five seconds to play. He made the play while the youngest player in the NBA, G.G. Jackson, was on the floor—Jackson is 19, and James is 20 years his senior.

“To be able to be on the floor and play at a high level, keep up with the young guys—keep up with the youngest guy—that’s something that I take pride in,’ James said.

“It’s an honor to be able to play this game that I love to play and play at a high level, and be able to share the court with my teammates, be able to share the court with rookies that watched me throughout my whole career or if not, they watched me at bits and pieces throughout my career, and hopefully I was able to inspire them throughout my journey. So, if not then hopefully, I can inspire them by playing against each other. Or show them something. It’s pretty cool.”