D’Angelo Russell Blames Dennis Schroder for Past Lakers Issues

D'Angelo Russell is one of the best Lakers at the moment, but that hasn't always been the case. In fact, the veteran PG is blaming ex-Laker Dennis Schroder for his previous issues.
Lakers PG D'Angelo Russell is blaming Dennis Schroder for his past issues.
Lakers PG D'Angelo Russell is blaming Dennis Schroder for his past issues. / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Despite struggles earlier in the year, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of the NBA's hottest teams at the moment. As of March 13, the Lakers have won 12 of their last 17 games as they continue to push toward the playoffs and a lot of that success has to do with D'Angelo Russell.

The veteran point guard has been one of Darvin Ham's best players throughout the season. Russell is averaging 18.0 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.0 rebounds while averaging 2.8 threes made on a career-high 42.4% success rate. It's easy to see that Los Angeles might be further down the standings had it not been for his solid play.

Things haven't always gone this smoothly for Russell, who struggled when he joined the team last season. While the 28-year-old is partially to blame for those issues, he's also pointing the finger at an ex-Laker: Dennis Schroder.

Lakers News: D'Angelo Russell Blames Dennis Schroder for 2022-23 Struggles

In an interview with ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Russell revealed that head coach Ham's relationship with Schroder played a factor in his 2022-23 struggles. The former Ohio State Buckeye revealed that he couldn't have a proper relationship with the Lakers bench boss due to Schroder already having one.

Russell added that he felt like he couldn't talk to Ham about his issues, emphasizing that there wasn't much dialogue between player and coach.

"When I was struggling, I would've been able to come to the coach and say, 'Bro, this is what we should do. Like, I can help you.' Instead, there was no dialogue. ... I just accepted it."

D'Angelo Russell

It isn't difficult to understand why Russell felt that way. The former All-Star guard was traded to Los Angeles — where he began his career in 2015 — at the 2023 NBA trade deadline, which didn't give him a lot of time to gel with his teammates.

Meanwhile, Schroder had already been working with Ham after joining the Lakers on a one-year deal in September 2022. The duo had previously worked together during Schroder's first five seasons in the league when Ham was an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks.

Once the playoffs rolled around, Russell's struggles caused him to fall out of Ham's favor as the Lakers often used Schroder to help close out games due to his superior defense. Russell's lowest point in the 2022-23 postseason came in the Western Conference Finals as he averaged 6.3 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.0 rebounds with .323/.133/.750 shooting splits.

Russell was eventually benched in Game 4 as the Lakers went on to get swept by the Denver Nuggets, who ended up winning the NBA Finals.

Interestingly enough, Russell also told McMenamin that he considered leaving the Lakers if the franchise wasn't "going to let me rock out." Reading between the lines, it looked like he was giving Los Angeles an ultimatum: choose him or Schroder but not both. Schroder wound up signing with the Toronto Raptors before Russell re-upped with the Lakers less than 24 hours after that.

Fortunately, the decision to keep Russell is paying off and, hopefully, it will lead to championship glory this spring. The Lakers currently own the 13th-best odds to win the 2023-24 NBA Finals on FanDuel Sportsbook.

More Los Angeles Lakers news and rumors:


Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.