Nick Young blasts D’Angelo Russell as reason for Lakers’ playoff demise

Tony Nguyen | Los Angeles Lakers
May 16, 2024

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are currently in the midst of a highly important offseason as it pertains to the future direction of the franchise. James played well for the most part in the Lakers’ first round series vs the Denver Nuggets this postseason, but Los Angeles ultimately ended up blowing a double digit lead in each of their four losses and dropped the series in a competitive but still ultimately disappointing five game gentleman sweep.

One player who didn’t play so well in the series was point guard D’Angelo Russell, who struggled against the Nuggets in the playoffs for the second year in a row and drew the ire of the Lakers’ fanbase in the process, who are fully aware that efficiency isn’t always of the paramount importance in the playoffs but still needed a bit more from their previous lottery draft pick.

One person who echoed those sentiments was Russell’s former Lakers teammate Nick Young, who recently took to an interview with YouTuber djvlad to put Russell on blast for his performance.

“I was making fun of (head coach Darvin) Ham, but the Lakers just didn’t have the staff, the team,” Young said, per djvlad on YouTube (via Caitlyn Holroyd of TheScore). “They depended on D-Lo, and that’s just – you’re asking to lose. You’re asking to lose right there, placing your faith in that.”

Young didn’t stop there.

“What do you expect? They put their faith in the snitch, and the snitch let you down.”

Of course, Russell and Young have quite the history dating back to their days as teammates on the Lakers during the 2015-16 season, which was Russell’s first in the NBA. That year, Russell secretly recorded Young as he admitted to cheating on his then-significant other, rapper Iggy Azalea, and the video ultimately found its way onto the internet, thus explaining Young’s reference to Russell as a “snitch.”

Nearly a decade later, it doesn’t seem that the hard feelings between the pair have subsided at all.

An interesting decision

; Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts after a play in the third quarter against the Denver Nuggets during game five of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers certainly have a decision to make about whether D’Angelo Russell is truly the player they want as point guard for the twilight years of LeBron James’ career (James is expected to resign with the Lakers this offseason).

This regular season was arguably the best of Russell’s career with the possible exception of his All-Star campaign with the Brooklyn Nets in 2018-19. Russell put together several unbelievable shooting nights, including an epic performance in a home game vs the Milwaukee Bucks late in the season, but once again struggled on the defensive end of the floor and only played relatively well in two out of the five games vs the Nuggets in the playoffs.

It’s certainly fair to wonder whether a backcourt of Russell and Austin Reaves, both of whom are more than capable offensively but aren’t exactly lock down defenders, is realistic for a championship contender in the modern NBA.

In any case, the Lakers will now look forward to the NBA Draft in just over a month.