D’Angelo Russell’s 33-game Warriors tenure is a blip in the 74-year history of the franchise, but he won’t forget his stint in the Bay Area any time soon.
Russell, of course, was excited to be traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a blockbuster swap earlier this month that brought 2014 No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins to the Warriors. He and Minnesota big man Karl-Anthony Towns go way back, and Russell nearly signed with the T-Wolves last summer. He told Bleacher Report’s Scott Polacek that “playing with my brother” was “a great step” in his career.
But the 24-year-old said he wouldn’t be prepared to take that step without the lessons he learned from his now-former teammates.
“A lot of great basketball minds,” Russell said of the Warriors’ culture. “I got to pick their brains as much as I could. I took advantage of that opportunity [to be] better as a player, on and off the floor.”
Russell joined the Warriors in a sign-and-trade from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Kevin Durant last summer, expecting to play with two-time MVP Steph Curry while Klay Thompson rehabbed his torn ACL. The Curry-Russell combo lasted just four games before Curry broke his hand a day before Halloween, and Russell suddenly held the reins of a rebuilding team rather than one fighting for a playoff spot.
He had his own injury issues, too, but Russell averaged 23.6 points per game in his brief time with the Warriors. That wasn’t enough to offset his defensive shortcomings, and the Warriors ultimately traded him for Wiggins after accepting Russell — in coach Steve Kerr’s words — was a “questionable” fit as a ball-dominant guard playing alongside Curry (and later Thompson, had he returned healthy this season).
Wiggins has cooled off after a hot start and the Towns-less T-Wolves just picked up their first win with Russell in the lineup Wednesday, but both Minnesota and Golden State are betting that a change of scenery ultimately helps the trade’s principal players reach their full potential.
If Russell does, he seems to think his short time with the Warriors will have gone a long way.
What D’Angelo Russell learned in short Warriors stint before trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
Read the original article at https://sports.yahoo.com/dangelo-russell-learned-short-warriors-024719668.html?src=rss.