Western Notes: Russell, Karl, D-League

Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell has been compared to Kings playmaker Rajon Rondo, which suits the rookie just fine, Abbey Mastracco of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. “That edge about him,” Russell said of Rondo. “A lot of guys don’t really like him, a lot of coaches don’t really like him, but he still finds a way to win. If that’s what it takes to be a winner in the league, I think I’m going to follow that path.” While Russell would like to emulate Rondo, he also wants to maintain his own identity on the court, Mastracco adds. “Just really being myself my whole career,” Russell said. “I don’t want to turn into somebody I’m not. I can control what I can control and that’s about it. I don’t really worry about those other things. Just trying to keep that positive mentality and being competitive.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Kings coach George Karl is happy with the progress his team is making but cautions that there is still much to be done before Sacramento can be considered a legitimate playoff threat, James Ham of CSNBayArea.com writes. “I think as a coach, getting better and improving is the positive of what’s going on right now,” Karl said. “Our record is positive also, we’ve had a good month of January. It hasn’t been an easy schedule. At the same time, we’re in the middle of the season, 41 games left. If we think we’re good I think that would be a mistake right now. We’ve played good basketball, we’re playing better basketball, but we have a lot of work to do.
  • The Grizzlies have been uncharacteristically productive from beyond the 3-point line recently, notes Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, with the team connecting on 48.9% of its deep balls over the past three games. “I actually thought the 3-point shot was kind of the difference for us in our favor, which is kind of cool,” coach Dave Joerger said. “We’re starting to make shots.” It’s unclear if the team’s recent success will deter it from pursuing more offensive firepower as the trade deadline approaches.
  • The Mavericks have assigned swingman Justin Anderson, power forward Jeremy Evans and center Salah Mejri to their D-League affiliate, the team announced via press release. This will be the seventh trip to the Legends on the season for Mejri, the sixth for Anderson and Evans’ third.
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