D'Angelo Russell: Last-second predictions for the Golden State Warriors star in 2019-20
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D’Angelo Russell: Last-second predictions for the Golden State Warriors star in 2019-20

D'Angelo Russell, Warriors

The Golden State Warriors attempted to salvage what was an otherwise debilitating offseason by acquiring guard D’Angelo Russell. While Russell himself is not going to lift the Warriors to another championship, it did take some of the sting out of losing Kevin Durant as well as Andre Iguodala.

Okay. Maybe just a minuscule amount.

But still, at least Golden State added another weapon. With Klay Thompson set to miss a huge chunk of the season while he recovers from a torn ACL, the Warriors are going to need all of the scoring they can get, and Russell should provide that.

Of course, Russell has never truly been in a winning environment at the Warriors’ level throughout his four-year NBA career.

The Los Angeles Lakers were miserable during his two years there, and while the Brooklyn Nets did win 42 games and make the playoffs this past season, his two years in Brooklyn are not even remotely comparable to the expectations in the Bay.

Russell played a pivotal role in helping lead the Nets to the postseason during the 2018-19 campaign, but he still wasn’t that great, posting a true-shooting percentage of just 53.3 percent, an indication that his bump in numbers was merely the result of increased opportunity rather than vast improvement.

That being said, we do know that Russell has talent. He was drafted second overall in 2015 for a reason, and when he gets going, he can be an absolutely lethal scorer for stretches.

In Golden State, Russell will be playing alongside Stephen Curry in the backcourt, which is certainly an interesting dynamic. Curry is a proven star and an all-time great shooter that Russell can learn from, but at the same time, you have to wonder how those two will fit considering their styles of play are incredibly similar.

Can Russell, a volume shooter, co-exist with a rich man’s version (a very rich man’s version) of himself?

No one really knows for sure, but we can prognosticate.

My expectations? Russell will average around 20 points per game, as the Dubs don’t really have many other scoring options other than Curry with Thompson sidelined.

As far as efficiency is concerned, Russell will probably start trending upward, as Curry and the Warriors will almost certainly groom him to try and get him to fit their system.

But do I think Russell will have a massive impact on the Dubs this season? No.

Whether we want to admit it or not, Russell has yet to prove that he can be a significantly positive force, as he has not shown he can score the ball efficiently on a consistent basis, and he is not a good defender.

Russell will probably post a true-shooting percentage of around 54-55 percent, which is a minor step up from last year. He’ll also see his usage decrease, as Curry will almost surely be the more ball-dominant player, and when Thompson does eventually return, there will be even fewer shot attempts for Russell.

He will also help the Warriors make the playoffs, but how many wins D’Angelo Russell will actually be worth remains to be seen.