D’Angelo Russell: The Savior of the New York Knicks?
*Photo via Columbus Dispatch
The 2015 NBA Draft is coming up and there is uncertainty as to how the first four picks will unfold. For the New York Knicks, the ultimate losers of the NBA Draft Lottery, light glimmers at the long and seemingly never ending tunnel as they have the opportunity to grab a guy who has been high on their draft board for months, D’Angelo Russell.
It’s a general assumption that Towns and Okafor will go one and two, respectively; however, anything could happen and the Philadelphia 76ers could be the ones to tip the first domino and trigger a ripple effect throughout the rest of the first round.
DraftExpress and Yahoo! Sports, among other websites, have the 76ers selecting Kristaps Porzingis with the third overall pick, and thus have Russell falling to New York. Further, CBS Sports has reported that Sam Hinkie, General Manager of the 76ers, is “leaning towards Porzingis”.
If the top three goes in order of Towns, Okafor and Porzingis, then the Knicks will assumedly take Russell. He would be a superb fit in New York because of his dynamic versatility and thus make him a perfect player for the triangle offense.
Russell displays a rare versatility at the point guard spot in that he is an accurate shooter from all over the court as well as he can distribute and run the offense.
The Ohio State Buckeyes heavily relied upon Russell, as his usage rate was about 30 percent, which is comparable to James Harden’s this past season.
He did just about everything for them this year. Not only did he lead all freshmen in scoring with 19.3 points per game, but he also averaged about six rebounds and five assists per game and led the team in a plethora of categories.
Russell also ranked 23rd in the country in total three-point field goals made with 95.
In addition to being efficient from three, Russell showed he can make tough shots as well. Just ask VCU about the 28 points he dropped on them in the first round of the NCAA tournament while shooting 57 percent from the three point line.
Beyond that, He is a gifted passer who sees the floor like a chess board, planning each move out one, two, and three steps ahead of time. He had an assist percentage of about 30 percent, proving that many of the team’s points came off his dimes. Against Indiana this year, this passing wizardry was on full display as he dropped ten assists and dissected the Hoosier defense like a frog in seventh grade Biology.
Finally, though he is primarily a point guard, his 6’ 5” height and a 6’ 10” wingspan enable him to play the shooting guard spot as well.
Fit in the Triangle
The purpose of the triangle offense is to accentuate the talents of those players within the scheme. It’s a flexible system that would benefit Russell’s game.
He has the ability to slow the game down, which would thrive in the triangle offense, a system that relies on reading and reacting.
Finally, his versatility would constantly keep the defenders guessing and force them to guard both the pass and the shot. The still pictured below is a perfect example of where Russell could flourish in the offense.
When the Knicks have Carmelo Anthony operating from his bread and butter position in the high post, a dribble hand off with Russell (played by Tim Hardaway Jr.) would be tough to guard because Russell has that smooth jumper that would force the defense to commit, but if that happens then he has the passing skill to throw a quick pocket pass to ‘Melo.
Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks, MSG
Anything could happen on Thursday night, but it seems that the stars may be aligning for the Knicks to select Russell. Hopefully, he is the long awaited savior of this Knicks’ franchise.