Why the Warriors told you everything we need to know about D’Angelo Russell
D’Angelo Russell may just be NBA Twitters favourite player but there’s a problem, clearly NBA teams don’t feel the same.
There is no player in the NBA right now that has a bigger disconnect from fans and organizations. Fans see a future perennial All-Star while teams see a guy worth Andrew Wiggins and a top-4 protected first round pick.
Right now the Warriors are getting crushed for what they got for him and rightfully so, if fans were right. The thing is though that teams are justified in their viewpoint of D’Angelo.
Russell is one of the, if not the, worst volume ball-handlers at getting to the free throw line. This matters because Russell also takes a high volume of long twos meaning, he does two major analytic no-nos.
This along with the amount Russell needs the ball in his hands made Golden State an awkward fit to say the least. What’s interesting though is how little the Warriors got for Russell.
I may be able to poke holes in his game but his talent is undeniable.
What this move proved though is the NBA believes Russell has a ceiling. Everyone criticizing the Warriors is failing to realize they’ve been looking at flipping him since the moment he arrived. Do you really think if the Sixers were going to move one of their stars the Warriors would’ve made this move? Same goes for any other potentially available star.
Although Andrew Wiggins is one of the most hated on players in recent history, he and Russell are a lot closer than most realize.
If you look at those charts it becomes clear Wiggins can be a solid player as a secondary or tertiary piece. Russell on the other hand needs to be a key option to reach his potential and for the Warriors, those two facts devalued Dlo and made Wiggins a piece worth considering.
The fits also make more sense when you look defensively.
Russell’s career best defensive rating would put him 340th in the NBA this season while Wiggins has the potential to be at the very least good when put in system that knows what it’s doing, something he’s never been a part of.
The Wolves got their man and they should be excited.
Their biggest piece, Karl-Anthony Towns is happy and that’s what matters most. Towns and Russell pick and rolls will be fun for sure, Ryan Saunders and the Wolves staff will have endless options with those two operating in the Target Center for years to come.
Before they celebrate in the streets, just know the guy they got was available for a reason.
Russell Westbrook has been the Rockets best player since December
If there’s one thing I absolutely didn’t expect in this Rockets season, it was for Russell Westbrook to be their best player for two straight months.
You may not find a bigger apologist or bigger fan of his game than me. I love analytics, don’t get me wrong, there’s just always been something about Russ that has enticed me.
That being said, I did not see this coming.
Since Dec. 5, James Harden is shooting just 43.7% from the field, well down from the player we’ve come to know. In that time though, Russ has found a form similar to his MVP season.
One of the keys is Westbrook has finally started to understand he can’t shoot the three with any type of volume for his team to be successful. What he can do though, is many other things that are conducive to wins.
With the moves Houston made at the deadline, Westbrook’s skills should only blossom more. He has never played with spacing like this and it’s allowing him to get to the rim with startling ease.
Once Harden inevitably breaks out of his streak (I know most of you hate him but lets be honest), this team will pose fascinating problems for the rest of the west.
With all the shooting on the floor and space for Russ to operate, the aggressive doubling of Harden won’t be possible.
The Rockets plan of going all small is certainly ballsy and innovative and with Westbrook playing like this, even if he doesn’t remain their best player, it may just work.
The Pistons finally accepted what everyone else already knew
I struggle finding a fan base to feel worse for than Detroit fans.
If they didn’t have a title so recently, I think the rest of the world would take notice but alas, I feel many have yet to understand how putrid their front office has been since Chauncey and Rip moved on.
Since Tayshaun Prince in 2002, despite seven lottery selections, the Pistons have drafted just two players who made an All-Star team. One was Khris Middleton (seriously back in 2012 they took him in the second round before trading him to Milwaukee as part of the Brandon Jennings trade a year later) and the other was traded this week.
Andre Drummond is a good NBA player, the problem is he thinks he’s a great one.
I can’t really blame him, I mean the rebounding numbers he puts up are historic and although his scoring touch seems anything but natural, he’s worked to becoming a consistent 20-point scorer.
This week though, Pistons management finally came to the conclusion the rest of the league knew: a team built around Drummond was never going to work.
Trading for Blake Griffin was admirable, the move was interesting and last year we saw the potential. However, the team has misfired too many places to build a supporting cast worthy of Griffin and Drummond.
Top-ten misses like Stanley Johnson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Knight are back breakers. The unfortunate reality is by the time a guy like Sekou Doumbouya is ready to win, Drummond will be past his prime.
Griffin’s injury is the real thing that ended this era though. If he could’ve stayed healthy, I’m sure they’d be in the playoffs. A season like this though should be a long-term blessing in disguise for Pistons fans.
I know it hurts losing your best player for almost nothing but it’s time to accept a new era needs to come to Detroit Basketball.
Drummond is hurting and he probably should be, getting traded sucks. His career though needs a reset. I don’t think Cleveland is the spot but maybe they could be if Collin Sexton and Darius Garland or maybe even Kevin Porter Jr. hit.
One thing is certain though, Detroit wasn’t going to be any time soon.