There’s still a decent chunk of games left in the NBA season, but I feel pretty comfortable naming Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell’s swaggering reaction to his clutch three the winner of the 2015-16 Feeling Yourself Award. (Sorry, Evan Turner. Better luck next year.)
That three capped off the biggest night of Russell’s career. He scored 39 points and made eight threes against the Nets last night, and hit another clutch three to put his team up 100-94 just before launching that unconscionable shot in the video above.
It’s been sort of a tough year for Russell, but that has more to do with him getting jerked around by his blockheaded coach than it does his talent. He’s had some ugly games, but point guard is the hardest position in the league to play as a rookie, and a guy with Russell’s combination of size, shooting ability, and handles was never going to stay quiet forever.
This game represents what Lakers fans hope is a glimpse into the future. Kobe Bryant was nowhere to be seen, Byron Scott let the young players off the leash for once, and Russell reminded everyone why he was such a sought-after prospect. Perhaps most encouraging of all, though, is that he’s already better at pimping a big shot than Kobe Bryant ever was.