While some have been disappointed by Russell's play, you have to take into consideration that he's just a 19 year old rookie in the NBA. D'Angelo Russell only played 1 year in college and making a jump to the NBA where it's a far more competitive and grinding atmosphere is quite difficult. Some say that Okafor, Towns, Mudiay, and even Stanley Johnson are having better campaigns as of late in their rookie debuts. None of them play a position where not only does Russell have to know his spots, but know his teammates spots on the floor as well. To ask a 19 year old rookie to do that is a heavy burden.
Yes, he's the highest pick the Lakers have had in quite awhile, but the expectations are extremely high. In Los Angeles, the pressure is always immense but I believe in the kid. Nothing is going to happen overnight. As with most rookies, they need time to develop and mature, and they will over time. Russell has shown flashes of what he can do on the court. Making spectacular passes at times, and showing the ability to lead a team. He's going to have turnovers, he's going to have bad shooting days, and he's going to look lost on defense here and there. But that's all part of the process and learning your way in the league.
Lakers fans have to be patient with Russell. He's eventually going to grow as a player, get an NBA body, get quicker, and lead a team post Kobe Bryant. With Clarkson and Randle being budding players in this league, the future is going to be bright for the Lakers. It's just taking the bumps and the bruises as the years come along and wait for this team to get back to prominence.
At the moment, Russell is averaging about 9.5 points per game, 2.7 assists per game, and 4 rebounds per game. He's also shooting around 39% from the field and 31% from behind the arc. Those may not be staggering numbers, but for a kid straight out of college that only played one year, they aren't bad. Could they be better? Sure they can, and they will the more playing time Russell sees on the floor. Even Kobe Bryant, who entered the league in 1996, wasn't scoring as much as Russell is now. Some rookies find their niche in the league a lot earlier than others.
I believe Russell will have a slow but progressive outcome. He's not busting out of the gates with big numbers statistically, but his game has improved since the first game of the season. He's seeing his teammates better and he's getting more aggressive attacking the basket. It's far fetched unfair to call Russell a “bust” especially since the kid hasn't even played a full season in the NBA. Let him show what he can do in 2-3 years from now. I'm sure it will be a positive outcome for the fans and the team. Just be patient with the young man and let's just see how his career blossoms in the NBA.