D’Angelo Russell is now a part of the Golden State Warriors. Something I never thought I would say in my life. D-Lo is coming off a breakout season where he averaged 21.1 points per game on 43.4% from the field, he dished out 7 assists a game and he also grabbed 3.9 rebounds a game. Each of those stats are career highs. He should be able to build upon that season and I believe he should be a good fit for the Warriors and their system.
D-Lo was acquired in the sign and trade where the Brooklynn Nets were able to secure the services of Kevin Durant, and also nab a first round pick for the 2020 draft. The Nets gave up D’Angelo Russell, Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham in the deal. Then Napier and Graham were both moved in a separate deal to the Minnesota Timberwolves. D-Lo then signed a four year, $117 million max contract.
Many analysts and NBA personalities have been speculating and reporting that D-Lo was signed just to be traded around the time where Kay Thompson should be healthy. Note that D-Lo cannot he traded till December anyways. These rumors have been flying ever since the trade, but Bob Meyers, the Warriors general manager, attempted to squash the rumors by stating they would not have signed him if they were just trying to trade him. As a fan, I love this, D-Lo is one of my favorite players so I hope to see him ball out in a Warriors uniform. But I do have my concerns in terms of the Warriors wanting to trade him. They had to get something for KD, they weren’t going to go home empty handed. Getting D-Lo was a great prize, but the rumors are flying because the Warriors already have an all-NBA back court with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. I am not sure what the plan will be, but most likely, if they keep D-Lo, they will slide Klay and him up one position. Klay then plays the small forward, and D-Lo will play the shooting guard position.
The Fit (Offense)
This is what has sparked the trade rumors, the fit of D’Angelo Russell on the Warriors. Many people have been speculating that he will be on the move around December, or even the trade deadline. I believe the offensive fit should be seamless. Russell is a great play maker that has shown he is great in the pick and roll. His willingness to pass should fit the play style of the Warriors very well. Add in Willie Cauley-Stein, and the Warriors can run a pick and roll with almost any of their players on the floor. Steph is a great screen setter, and so is Klay, so they could do a pick and pop with the guards, or a pick and roll with the bigs for lobs. There are going to be so many threats on the offensive side for the Warriors. Also D-Lo offers a play maker along side Draymond and Steph which should help a ton.
Steph and Klay are some of the best shooters of all time. They are considered the splash brothers because of this. Russell has a chance to become a part of the splash family. Maybe not quite a brother, but a cousin if you will. He shot 39.3% from behind the arc on catch and shoot threes, and he shot 36.9% from behind the arc in general. He has been an improving shooter, he should fit right in as an offensive piece, even when Klay comes back. The Warriors are best known for riding the hot hand, so I assume that would stay the same.
The Fit (Defensive)
This is where the growing pains will show its face. D-Lo has never been known as a good defender. The main worry of the trade, is having a defensive back court of Steph and D-Lo. They might put up huge offensive numbers, but they might also let the opposing back court score a lot as well. Defense will be the biggest struggle, especially pre-Klay return because then their best and only defender could be Draymond. He may have to play heavy minutes due to the lack of defense on this roster at the moment. This team will thrive on the fast break, without defense, getting out on the break could be a struggle. It will be interesting to see how Coach Steve Kerr handles this back court duo together on the defensive side. Steph is notorious for being hidden on the worst offensive players in key games, now they will have to hide both guards.
Prediction: Most Likely Traded
As a Warriors fan, I’m very intrigued by the fit. Of course I don’t expect them to be perfect right away, but I do believe that offensively, they should be a great team. It’s just the defense I am worried about. But as a D-Lo fan, I am ready to go and buy his jersey as soon as they are available. He’s a smooth operator on offense, he is able to run an offense and score at will when called upon. I am hoping that the Warriors do keep him because he will take a load off for Steph, Klay and Draymond on the offensive side. But it’s just the defense that I would be really worried about. They should be able to find a place for him, but he will need to improve immensely. KD did improve in his time with Golden State, but he had a much better defensive potential than D-Lo.
But as much as I want him to not be traded, most likely he will be moved before the deadline. I have heard Robert Covington’s name thrown out there since D-Lo was favored to land in Minnesota with the Timberwolves before the sign and trade to the Warriors. Rob-Co would be treated as a replacement for Andre Iguodala because of his defense and his ability to shoot threes. You do miss the extra playmaking off the bench, but the defense is the most important part. I could see Rob-Co being the center of the trade, but I do hope the Warriors keep D-Lo. The offensive fit is too perfect in my opinion. But the Warriors should have plenty of time to see how well they play together. They have two/four months to assess the situation at least. The length of the time depends on how quickly Klay is able to recover. Something I do know, this upcoming season, should be one of the most exciting in recent years.
Categories: NBA News Blog