Ohio State Basketball: Looking at D’Angelo Russell’s NBA Career After Early Playoff Exit

D’Angelo Russell, who is returning to the Lakers on a two-year, $36 million contract he signed as a free agent over the summer, will open this season as their starting point guard. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
D’Angelo Russell, who is returning to the Lakers on a two-year, $36 million contract he signed as a free agent over the summer, will open this season as their starting point guard. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Former Ohio State Buckeye D’Angelo Russel is one of the league’s veteran stars. Let’s look back at his career after this year’s playoff exit.

After diving into the impact of NBA veteran and former Buckeye Mike Conley, the next point guard in line is D’Angelo Russell. The 28-year-old lefty spent just one season at Ohio State, but made his mark as one of the best at the position.

He spent his one and only college season with the Buckeyes in 2014-2015, where he played and started 35 games for the team. He logged 33.9 minutes per game as a freshman, showing that his impact made him a must-start right away.

Russell’s numbers were very impressive as he averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He shot 44.9 percent from the field, 41.1 percent from behind the arc, and 75.6 percent from the line.

He scored 23 and 19 points respectively in his only career Bit Ten Tournament games. He put up 28 points in a memorable Round of 64 clash with VCU, before scoring just nine in a Round of 32 loss that ended his collegiate career.

The former Monteverdi Academy product was named a consensus First-team All-American, First-team All Big-Ten, All Big-Ten Freshman, and the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. This led to him being second overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, landing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Buckeye Point Guard Has Seen It All During His Time in the League

He played 80 games and started 48 for the Lakers in his rookie year. His numbers were solid as he put up 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in 28.2 minutes. He started 60 of the 63 games he played in his sophomore campaign and averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists.

His time in Los Angeles the first time around was short-lived as he was part of a dysfunctional and young team. A move sent him to Brooklyn for his third and fourth seasons in the league.

Russell picked up where he left off and then some, averaging 15.5 and 21.1 points per game respectively, in his two seasons in New York. His assist numbers also rose to 5.2 and 7.0 respectively, and he averaged 3.9 boards in both seasons. In his second season in Brooklyn, he played and started 81 games, the most of his career.

The 2019-2020 season was another change of location for Russell as he was moved to the Golden State Warriors for 33 games/starts, then the Minnesota Timberwolves for the rest of the season where he played/started 12 games.

His stint in the Bay Area was highlighted by his 23.6 points per game, and he managed 21.7 points per game during his short spurt that season with the Timberwolves.

Russell went on to play two full seasons in Minnesota after the hectic 2019 campaign, playing a big role for the team. In 2022-2023, Russell played 54 games for the team in his fourth season overall with them, before another trade.

The trade was a fascinating one for Ohio State basketball fans. The three-team trade saw Mike Conley make his move to Minnesota, while Russell was sent back to the Lakers where he started his professional career.

Russell started all 17 games for the Lakers as he finished out the season averaging 17.4 points per game in the short stretch. This past season was his first full year with the team, and he played a big part in the Lakers making it into the playoffs. He played in 76 games starting 69 of them, and had stats of 18.0 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.1 rebounds. He shot 41.5 percent from three-point range, notching a season-best.

His playoff career has involved three first-round exits, this year with the Lakers included. He also experienced it with both the Timberwolves and Nets. Last season with the Lakers the team made a run to the Western Conference finals, with Russell starting 15 out of 16 games he played in.

The former Jerry West Award winner and McDonald’s All-American turned his pre-college hype into a consistent NBA starter. He was named an NBA All-Star in 2019 and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2016.

With not many buckeyes ever making the All-Star game, Russell has accomplished more than a lot of solid players who wore the Scarlet and Gray and played at the next level. While he is missing a championship on his resume, staying with the Lakers or making a move to a contender could add to his resume. Russell continues to show why he is one of the best Buckeye ballers in the league in recent memory.