D'Angelo Russell has missed 10 straight games and 11 of the Lakers' last 12 with knee soreness. He went through platelet therapy to help resolve the issue, and meanwhile the Lakers have gone 3-8 in that eleven-game stretch, and lost their last five. However, the franchise combo guard could soon be back as coach Luke Walton said at practice Saturday that Russell might return vs. the Knicks on Sunday.
And Russell teased the same.
👀— D'Angelo Russell (@Dloading) December 10, 2016
The Lakers' offense has fallen off a cliff without Russell. With backup Jose Calderon playing in eight games during that stretch, the Lakers' offense was 20 points worse per 100 possessions. With Jordan Clarkson on the floor, they were 10 points worse. That's not about Clarkson, it's about what Russell gives their offense.
There's reason to believe that Russell's return will give the Lakers a boost to return to .500. They were better when Russell was in the rotation, when he was off the floor, but that was mostly because of floor balance. Then again, the schedule's also gotten considerably tougher. It'll be interesting to see how Russell looks when he gets back, and if it helps the Lakers become a playoff-spot contender again.