D’Angelo Russell is coming off the best season of his career and the Warriors acquired him as part of the sign-and-trade that sent Kevin Durant to the Nets.
Russell thrived with the Nets, helping them make the playoffs for the first time in four years and he played in his first NBA All-Star game.
The talented guard proved that he can play at a high-level and be a leader and his commitment to improve his game clearly impressed the Warriors.
Russell Has Career Year for Brooklyn
D’Angelo Russell averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds, shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3-point range in 30.2 minutes over 81 games last season, all after averaging 15.5 points, 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds, shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from beyond the arc in 48 games (35 starts) during his first season with the Nets.
The Warriors will miss Kevin Durant but they were able to turn his decision to leave into the trade that brought Russell and as explained by Bryan Oringher, former NBA video coordinator and advance scout, he “will be great there.”
Is hard to expect Russell to completely fill Durant’s shoes but let’s project how he might perform next season.
What Russell Brings to the Warriors
D-Lo was one of five players to average over 21 points while shooting at least 36.0 percent from beyond the arc (minimum 600 attempts).
STATS PASS shows that Russell posted the sixth-highest usage percentage in the league at 32.1 (minimum 50 games), which means that 32 out of 100 offensive possessions for the Nets ended with him shooting the ball, turning the ball over or going to the free-throw line.
Russell did not play wit another All-Star in the last three seasons so he got used to controlling the tempo but his usage percentage will drop as a secondary scoring option for the Warriors (third once Klay Thompson returns down the stretch following his ACL surgery).
The Warriors led the NBA with a 56.5 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) last season. This stat differs from field goal percentage slightly because it adds extra weight to 3-point shots.
Having Russell’s shooting ability gives the Warriors a backcourt with three of the top 10 shooters in terms of 3-point percentage last season (minimum 500 attempts): Stephen Curry led the league at 43.7 percent from 3-point range, Klay Thompson was third at 40.2 percent and Russell was eighth at 36.8 percent.
In two seasons with the Nets, D-Lo shot 11 percent more 3-pointers while playing with another point guard and he will have plenty of catch-and-shoot opportunities from beyond the arc with a Warriors team that people are writing off way too early.
This is what Russell told HoopsHype when asked if he is excited to play with fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson:
I think it’s like a video game. You got three guys who can shoot the three at a high clip. I think that’s really exciting for the fans. Threes are obviously worth more than twos at the end of the day, so I think it gives us an opportunity to win. I’m so excited, and I think we’re going to bring a lot of excitement [to the fans].