3 reasons the Timberwolves need to trade D’Angelo Russell
The Minnesota Timberwolves are in one of the best stretches in recent years, as they have recorded seven victories over their last 10 games. Everything seems to go in an upward trend for this franchise, but they still need to sustain this success in a duration of a whole season, especially on the defensive end of the court.
Anthony Edwards is having a career year in his sophomore campaign. He is averaging 22.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Karl Anthony-Towns is bouncing back from his underwhelming performance last season and leading the team in points and boards. D’Angelo Russell has been superb this season as the facilitator and shooter from long distance, but his style of play does not seem to complement Edwards and Towns.
D’Angelo Russell leads the league in clutch points this season.
He is shooting 42% from three in the clutch. pic.twitter.com/frYhSNu2P3
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 30, 2021
With his value at its highest right now, this could be the best time to swap him for better pieces. Here are three reasons why the Timberwolves should trade Russell now.
Timberwolves Trade D’Angelo Russell
3. Anthony Edwards flourishes with the ball on his hands
With Russell handling the point guard duties, the usage rate and touches of Edwards have not been utilized at the highest level. His usage has increased to 27.4% from 26.4% in the previous season, but Edwards could be maximized when he is the primary ball handler of the offense and surrounded by players that have tremendous shooting prowess and defensive capabilities.
As most of the plays for Towns begin in pick-and-roll plays, Edwards is the perfect player that would bolster the options of Towns because defenses have difficulty containing the drives of Edwards. Players that have a similar play style to Klay Thompson or Bradley Beal would be spectacular for the Timberwolves because their production would continue being remarkable despite a lower usage rate as compared to Russell.
Russell could adjust by being the secondary ball handler, but he has not proven that yet through the duration of his career.
2. D’Angelo Russell’s defense
Towns and Edwards have constantly had trouble excelling defensively, but Russell is the glaring mismatch that opponents target every single night. Opponents are shooting 51.8% on two-pointers when guarded by Russell, highlighted by the whopping 58.1% when they are 10 feet or nearer. Russell does not lack the athleticism or quickness to defend, but he must put in more effort just staying in front of his man.
He did improve defensively this year, but the Wolves can certainly benefit having a player that can truly elevate them defensively.
D'Angelo Russell deserves some praise for his defense this year, definitely feel like he's improved there.
Takes away the roll in help, then steps up to block the floater: pic.twitter.com/YeFW3cwvTc
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) December 2, 2021
Adding a wing that has a wider body and adequate defensive skill set is better for a Timberwolves squad that is in need of veterans that can contribute with the dirty work. Their core is immensely talented, but there are still some holes on their team that could be addressed by acquiring experienced individuals that would complement the duo of Edwards and Towns.
1. Timberwolves need a leader
With the core of Edwards and Towns, they need a mentor that will guide them through the crossroads and humps of their young career. Russell will still be paid close to $90 million over the next three years, but he doesn’t possess leadership qualities that are necessary for a star point guard. He is a phenomenal offensive talent, but the Timberwolves need his statistics and numbers to translate to consistent victories for their franchise.
Russell’s style of play fits more with a team like the Brooklyn Nets squad he led to the playoffs several years ago because he was the focal point of the offense and was surrounded by players that would flourish under his style of play. Edwards and Towns are more of a leader-by-example type of individuals, thus Minnesota could trade for young assets along with people that provides a boost to being a vocal leader.
Russell’s talent and clutch play is unquestioned, but the suggestion to trade him for Minnesota is more of because of his fit with the current crop of players under head coach Chris Finch. There are the lack of individuals on their lineup that are excellent defensively, so surrounding Towns and Edwards with pieces that are two-way players should catapult their franchise to long term success.