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D’Angelo Russell wants to take his game ‘to another level’ during last stretch of season

With only 21 wins in the season and the second-worst record in the league, the Los Angeles Lakers don’t have many reasons to win with only nine games left in the season and the NBA Draft approaching this offseason.

But point guard D’Angelo Russell isn’t the front office and has other things in mind.

“Individually, I want to compete,” Russell told reporters after Sunday’s 97-81 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, according to Serena Winters of Lakers Nation. “Take it to another level these last nine games and get something out of that.”

Following his 40-point explosion against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 19, Russell has come back to earth, scoring 18, 15, and 22 points respectively in his last three outings.

Perhaps the bigger issue behind the numbers is Russell’s unpredictable aggression, or better said lack thereof. The Ohio State product has attempted as many as 19 shots and as few as nine against the last three opponents, making it a relative toss-up to see if he is out to kill during a certain game.

Head coach Luke Walton has looked for a way to fix this problem, relying on him as a pure scorer when playing off the ball and as a facilitator when he’s on the ball, according to Lakers beat writer Bob Garcia.

Russell has been quite an unselfish facilitator, assisting on 27.1 percent of the Lakers’ baskets while on the floor, the highest rate within the team. Russell’s problems start with his turnovers, posting a 4.7-to-2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.

It is unclear from his comments if he plans to go all out as a scoring force or look to be an all-around floor guy, but we should all see exactly what he means as the end of this 2016-17 season looms closer.

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