D'Angelo Russell to start for the Lakers for the rest of the season

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Since the Los Angeles Lakers acquired D'Angelo Russell as their highest draft pick since current assistant coach James Worthy in 1982, there's been intense pressure on the young guard's shoulders.

Lakers coach Byron Scott has been perceived to be extra critical of Russell during a difficult first season. However, the cloudy weather could be behind the 2015 number two draft pick after a vote of confidence from his coach.

Following a fine display on his first start since December, Russell appears to have responded well to the apparent tough love Scott directed his way as the 19-year-old tallied 15 points, six assists and one steal in the Lakers 115-126 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night.

The Kentucky-born rookie only committed two turnovers during 34:01 on the court, too, and only Jordan Clarkson was on the floor for longer.

ESPN reporter Baxter Holmes has suggested there's more to come for Russell with Scott staying true to a promise he made prior to All-Star weekend.

Many Lakers fans will consider this as most welcome news. The purple and yellow faithful have been pining for the young core of Clarkson, Russell and Julius Randle - who recorded another double-double against the Bulls - to be given the opportunity to gel as a unit.

Russell spoke to Serena Winters of Lakers Nation about reclaiming his starting berth after the Lakers dry trip to Chicago.

Russell said: "I just want to get better. Coach always says you've always got something to play for. With however games are left, I feel like I've still got something to prove.

"I don't want anybody to take it the wrong way but you feel like your best players are your starters and I feel like I'm going to keep the confidence and say I'm one of the best players, so I feel like I want to keep proving that I deserve to start, deserve to be out there and play crunch-time minutes.

"With these last few games I want to show that I have to be out there; build that trust with Coach that he has to put me on the floor."

Russell has steadily grown during his debut campaign in the league despite the Pacific Division heavyweights sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference.

February is the first month where the Lakers have sported a positive points differential while he's on the floor (0.6). Now, Scott and Lakers fans alike will hope reclaiming the one spot will give Russell the necessary motivation to reach his billed potential.

Julius Randle
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Jordan Clarkson
D'Angelo Russell

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