Russell has shown flashes of talent and brilliance, but it always seems that something goes wrong. In his defense, Russell has been put in less-than-favorable situations for most of his career. The Los Angeles Lakers were a dumpster fire during the time he resided in Hollywood. The Brooklyn Nets were an up-and-coming team, and that was also the situation that sprung his best season. However, Brooklyn got wind of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving coming, so they sent Russell to the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade for Durant.
Russell joined a Warriors team that was in transition and limbo. Kevin Durant had just left, Andre Iguodala was traded, Klay Thompson was out with an ACL injury and Shaun Livingston had retired. Russell did not join the well-oiled, light-years-ahead Warriors. Instead, he joined a rag tag group that only got worse once Stephen Curry went down with an injury.
Russell now joins the Minnesota Timberwolves with the expectation that he can put it all together and unlock his full potential. Russell is not joining a good team, but is instead joining a situation where he is wanted, much like when he first arrived in Brooklyn. Russell made the All-Star team last season because the Nets were a supportive environment that allowed him to flourish. His exit from the Nets was not an indictment of him, it’s just that no team could pass on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – Russell was simply the odd man out.
In Minnesota, he will be given the keys to the car and will have a co-star who can mesh with him (at least on paper). Russell and Karl Anthony-Towns are friends off the court and are the same age. Towns and Russell can go through their growing pains together. They also can relate with one another, both being two young talents that are no longer as revered as they were when they entered the NBA.
Russell can run pick and roll with Towns, and he can also play off the ball because Towns is such a gifted passer. Simply put: D’Angelo Russell can play his ideal combo guard role in Minnesota.
Russell has too much talent to have his career become a journeyman voyage. The guy makes some insane passes and can get hot with the best of them. When his shot is falling, it’s a thing of beauty.
Russell has ice in his veins and can now run with the Wolves in snowy Minnesota; hopefully his new pack will become his family.