D'Angelo Russell will be playing a slightly different role down the stretch. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are fully committed to player development over the final dozen games of the regular season, and experimenting with D’Angelo Russell’s role appears to be next in store.

After Russell dropped a career-high 40 points in Sunday’s loss to Cleveland, Lakers head coach Luke Walton said he wants to try playing the former No. 2 overall pick off the ball more for the rest of the year and expressed his belief that Russell can succeed in that capacity, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The 21-year-old Russell, who is averaging 15.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game in his sophomore season in 2016-17, has played roughly 90 percent of his career minutes thus far at the point guard position (per Basketball Reference), and one of his primary strengths is creating out of halfcourt pick-and-roll sets. But as Walton alluded to, Russell has fairly strong numbers in the limited time he has played off the ball, ranking in the 72nd percentile leaguwide this season in spot-up shooting opportunities and in the 69th percentile in opportunities off cuts (per NBA.com).

New Lakers president Magic Johnson has hinted that he wants Russell to take on a bigger role for the team, and developing his game off the ball could be one of the better ways to do that with the Lakers likely to have a shot at an elite point guard of the Markelle Fultz or the Lonzo Ball mold in next June’s draft.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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QUIZ: Name every Los Angeles Lakers first round draft pick since 1988

Since 1988, the Los Angeles Lakers have selected 21 players in the first round of the NBA Draft. How many can you name?

Score:
0/23
Time:
5:00
1988: 25, PG, Notre Dame
David Rivers
1989: 26, C, Serbia
Vlade Divac
1990: 27, C/PF, Clemson
Elden Campbell
1992: 15, SG, Missouri
Anthony Peeler
1993: 12, SF/SG, North Carolina
George Lynch
1994: 10, SG/SF, Temple
Eddie Jones
1996: 24, PG, Arkansas-Little Rock
Derek Fisher
1998: 26, PG, Minnesota
Sam Jacobson
1999: 23, SF, Augsburg
Devean George
2000: 29, C/PF, Stanford
Mark Madsen
2002: 27, SF/SG, Fresno State
Chris Jefferies
2003: 24, PF/C, Illinois
Brian Cook
2004: 27, SG/PG, Slovenia
Sasha Vujacic
2005: 10, C, St. Joseph (HS)
Andrew Bynum
2006: 26, PG, UCLA
Jordan Farmar
2007: 19, SG/PG, Georgia Tech
Javaris Crittenton
2009: 29, PG/SG, Florida State
Toney Douglas
2014: 7, PF, Kentucky
Julius Randle
2015: 2, PG, Ohio State
D'Angelo Russell
2015: 27, PF, Wyoming
Larry Nance, Jr.
2016: 2, SF, Duke
Brandon Ingram
2017: 2, PG, UCLA
Lonzo Ball
2017: 28, C/F, North Carolina
Tony Bradley
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