D'Angelo Russell is back in Los Angeles as the Nets play the Lakers on Friday night and boy, the tables have turned.
The Lakers, who traded Russell to the Nets after two seasons, are on the brink of playoff elimination. Meanwhile, Russell and the Nets are in town fighting to stay in the playoff picture, currently in seventh place one game ahead of the Miami Heat.
The 23-year-old All-Star is a major part of the reason why the Nets are in that position and his success has shined a new kind of spotlight on him as he returns to Los Angeles.
None of it fazes Russell, though.
"I've been on the worst side of the tilt," he said, per Brian Lewis of The Post. "So to now be on this side where we're having a little success, I've seen both narratives. I've seen every narrative you could throw. When it comes to preparing myself for them, I've looked in the mirror and I've put myself in the situation before [the media] could."
Russell had a tumultuous time in Los Angeles, which was marred by issues with teammate Nick Young and led to the point guard being isolated by his teammates.
It led to him being traded to the Nets but he has emerged as a leader for Brooklyn while the Lakers are still struggling to put together a winning product, even with LeBron James.
The Lakers could, in fact, use a guy like Russell, which only adds to the attention as the Nets could officially eliminate the Lakers from playoff contention.
Russell doesn't mind, though.
"You know you go into a situation like that, and everybody is obviously speaking on my success, individual accolades, or the start here, there's always a new title," Russell said. "I've come here last year and when we played we were in a different situation: We weren't in a playoff push, or the pressure wasn't as high. So with all the pressure that they're making and building for me coming back, it's good.
"It takes the pressure off our team because we're coming trying to win. We're not worried about what I've got going on, or if it's going to rain in LA or if the beach is nice. We're really worried about trying to get a win and take our asses back the East Coast. That's our business approach."