{WATCH VIDEO}:LIVE Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell expresses his towards Derrick White and….

“I think we can beat a lot of teams, and we can win a lot of games.”

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‘s expectations for the season.

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Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell is using one of his peers as a new template for his game, and it may not be who you’d expect.

Following Sunday’s 108-97 NBA preseason loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Russell told reporters that “my inspiration has been Derrick White.” He explained the Boston Celtics guard “doesn’t get a lot of credit for what he does” yet “makes all the winning plays.”

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times detailed how Russell is operating with a different mindset on the court, and the 2018-19 All-Star acknowledged his defense made him a liability at times.

“Yeah, I mean, last year they found a way to get me off the floor by not playing defense, I guess,” he said. “So, [I] try to be a reason to eliminate that. Not give them a reason to not have me on the floor. Try to be as dangerous as I can on offense and try not to be a liability on defense. So, that’s what I’m working on. I’m trying to do it now before the season so I continue to practice those good habits.”

Russell performed well in the regular season after winding his way back to L.A. in a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves. He averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 assists while shooting 41.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Once the playoffs rolled around, though, it looked increasingly like the Lakers were better with the 6’4″ playmaker on the bench. During the run to the Western Conference Finals, net rating improved by five points when he was off the floor, per NBA.com. Head coach Darvin Ham finally benched Russell for Game 4 against the Denver Nuggets, and he played just 15 minutes.

It would be a stretch to say Russell hit rock bottom after the 2023 playoffs, but his value was arguably as low as it had ever been. That was evidenced by the two-year, $36 million deal he signed with Los Angeles.

The deal at least allows the 27-year-old to become a free agent again in 2024, and making strides on defense would go a long way toward positioning him for a much bigger payday.

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