Just as this year’s NBA free agency period was kicking off, the Brooklyn Nets acquired free-agent forward Kevin Durant in a sign-and-trade deal that sent the Nets’ All-Star point guard, D’Angelo Russell, to the Golden State Warriors. While Russell could theoretically fill the void temporarily left by the injured Klay Thompson, there have been some concerns raised regarding his potential role on the team once Thompson recovers from the ACL injury that sidelined him in Game 6 of this year’s NBA Finals.
Despite those concerns, it appears that Russell is looking forward to joining the former NBA champions and playing alongside Golden State’s high-powered starting backcourt of Thompson and Stephen Curry. In an interview with HoopsHype, Russell opened up about the reasons why he agreed to head to the Warriors via the aforementioned sign-and-trade, stressing that he is “beyond excited” to join a team that had played in five straight NBA Finals series and does “nothing but win.”
“That’s something that I’m trying to add to my resume in this league; [I want to] become a winner,” Russell added.
“I think this is the first step, going to a team of that caliber. I think it’ll work out pretty great too. They have some great coaches and great players to kind of make it all work. I’m ready to get the wheels turning.”
Talking about the chance to team up with Curry and Thompson to form a three-man backcourt rotation capable of big scoring numbers, Russell told HoopsHype that this setup reminds him of a “video game.” He explained that with three players capable of shooting at a high percentage from beyond the arc, the Warriors could be “really exciting” in the 2019-20 season.
“Threes are obviously worth more than twos at the end of the day, so I think it gives us an opportunity to win,” Russell added.
"I think it's like a video game."
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) August 9, 2019
While Russell admitted that he’s looking forward to becoming a “sponge” and learning from one of the NBA’s top point guards in Curry, he also told HoopsHype that he believes there’s no such thing as a true point guard or center in today’s era of position-less basketball. He said that as a member of the Warriors in the coming season, he expects to be surrounded by a number of talented players that could help him focus on simply being the best basketball player he could be, regardless of the role he’s asked to play.
As the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, D’Angelo Russell started his professional basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the summer of 2017. While he was slowed down by injuries in his first season in Brooklyn, Russell enjoyed a breakout season in 2018-19, averaging 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and seven assists per game for the Nets. He was also named to his first All-Star Game, as shown on his Basketball Reference player page.