FanPost

The D'Angelo Russell conundrum

D'Angelo Russell is a heck of a player. Ever since he beat my Rams in college in the first round of the 2015 tournament he has caught my eye. Great handles, beautiful shot, good court vision and just a good all around player. Throwing a player like him into the spotlight in LA is a terrible idea. Kobe Bryant was on his way out and everybody hyped him up with the "Next Kobe" and the hype following his big games and style of play. Magic Johnson put it too bluntly when he said "I need a leader". If Russell was to go to any other organization in any other situation I think he burns out and is out of the league in a couple years. The Nets took a big risk going after him and giving up Brook Lopez and a first rounder for Mozgov and Russell. Marks had been on the lookout for a trade for an outdated Brook (props to him for reinventing himself) and wanted a player with upside, and he found perhaps the biggest bargain of draft night (to all saying Lakers won the trade the Nets would not have drafted Kuzma so Kuz shouldn't be counted in the trade)

D'angelo came into the nets organization and I didn't expect much out of it. Him and Lin made a backcourt duo that was interesting. Russell missed a portion of the first season and didn't look healthy. He got lucky and Marks brought in some great veterans who helped him with his career immensely. Carroll and Dudley helped Dlo get an NBA ready body that could last an entire season. He finally had the chance to succeed and had a great offseason. He thrived in the Atkinson system. Albeit Atkinson hating on the midrange jumper D'Angelo finally broke through and used all the talent he has and averaged 21.1 ppg in 81 contests. The midrange seemed to never miss when he caught on. He lead the league in scoring on the left side of the court inside the arc but outside of the paint. He has the longest streak in the NBA for three pointers made. While not being athletic he still could get to the basket. He distributed the ball well. He thrived and averaged tied most minutes for Atkinson (Joe Harris also averaged 30.2). He played at an all star level and although he got snubbed big time with Middleton making it over him the first time around, the coaches came to their senses and named him an alternate.

On the other hand this season kind of screwed us. He is one heck of a player but he has a lot of downside. He seems to get turnover prone quickly. Can force bad shots often. Below average defender (in the second half he turned that around), but my biggest pet peeve with him was his need for the ball. Don't get me wrong he deserves the ball, but he needed the ball so much so and when he would waste the entire shot clock and go for a mid range it was frustrating. The game against the Pelicans was so frustrating because we literally "threw" the game away. A no look pass like that showed he still had room to grow and that progression came but do we want to give him a max contract? Absolutely not. To another team like the Magic or the Suns who have been dire for a star point guard in Phoenix's case since Nash left and in Orlando's case I guess Hardaway. Russell is arguably a player we could take out of the G league and develop someone into the same way. Look at Spencer. If Spencer was given those minutes and priorities he could lead a team like this. I'm not saying he is better because I respect Dlo as a player he has a great handle and smooth shot, but a player we elevate shouldn't punish us in the long run because he needs a contract and the fans want to give it to him.

The maximum contract Dlo should be getting is 4 years 80 million. With all the speculation of Kyrie to Brooklyn giving D'angelo Russell a max contract would look like a foolish deal later. Especially if we could lure the ever looming Durant out of Golden State. Marks has tortured teams like the Wizards, Heat and Blazers with ridiculous offer sheets to above average players. The Heat are in salary cap hell, Wizards are a mess and the Blazers luckily had the Nets swoop back in and trade for the player they offered that offer sheet and got a pick with it. (Nets hoped Crabbe would develop into another Joe Harris player) I think if anything is offered above the 20 million per year threshold we don't take it and either go after another Point guard or let the already competent and borderline all star Spencer Dinwiddie run our point. Russell is a great talent but his great season shouldn't ruin the prospect of having a great offseason. Also don't forget, Levert Allen and whoever else ends up developing are due to get contracts and another huge tax bill for a non championship team would be upsetting to ownership. Please post opinions in comments I will reply.