As strange and bizarre as it sounds, the Golden State Warriors tank season is officially upon us after Stephen Curry went down with a broken hand.
The Dubs, fresh off five straight Finals appearances, expect the two-time MVP to miss months of action. With Curry's injury, partnered with their abysmal start to the season, it may be smart for them to move on from an already lost season five games into their new campaign.
Lost in Golden State's mighty downfall is newcomer D'Angelo Russell. Even prior to Curry's devastating injury, Russell has failed to provide a positive impact with his new squad. In fact, the D-Lo experience has actually been a disaster so far.
With Curry out and Green nursing injuries of his own, it's time for the real D'Angelo Russell to finally stand up for the wounded Warriors.
Over five games, he's still getting his numbers, averaging 19.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 6.4 assists, just a tad below his averages from his All-Star season with the Nets (21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists).
However, those stats are clouded by inefficiency and bad percentages. Russell is shooting just 38.6 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from beyond the arc – both of which are even below his career marks. Likewise, through week one, Russell reportedly had the worst plus-minus in the entire Association so far this season.
Obviously, the adjustment period is expected and he's still getting acclimated to playing in the Warriors' system. Likewise, playing next to Steph Curry for the majority of his run so far certainly entailed some sacrifices on his part.
With Curry now set to miss at least the next three months, that means Russell will have the ball a lot in his hands. Therefore, Golden State should cater his strengths on the offensive end.
D-Lo had a ton of success in the pick-and-roll last season with Brooklyn. The Warriors, on the other hand, didn't run too much of those sets.
Head coach Steve Kerr has already begun to let Russell run those plays. Given that he is already their de facto number one option on offense, they should feature him in more pick-and-roll action now that he'll exclusively have the ball in hands for the foreseeable future.
Russell is also going to have a feast every night with all the shots he can get. In fact, he already started last night. He jacked up a team-high 24 shots in their loss to the San Antonio Spurs, albeit making just nine of them.
Russell already seems ready for the challenge to step up in Curry's absence. He will have to begin on the defensive end and exert a better effort on that end of the ball. Likewise, he'll have to clean up on his efficiency and get better scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Considering all the factors, this is going to be quite a tall task for the 23-year old. Nevertheless, as he has done in his entire career, Russell is more than ready to prove his naysayers wrong once again.