• Jac Manuell

2019 NBA Free Agents: D'Angelo Russell


Empire Sports Media

Overview:

D’Angelo Russell had a breakout 2018-19 season. A dominant scoring campaign from the perimeter and mid range led to his first All-Star selection. More importantly he was the offensive fulcrum and leader of a Brooklyn Nets team that reached the postseason for the first time in four years.

Regular Season Stats: 21.1 PPG, 48.2 2P%, 36.9 3P%, 78 FT%, 7 AST, 3.9 REB, 3.1 TOV, 1.2 STL, 0.2 BLK

Postseason Stats: 19.4 PPG, 37.9 2P%, 32.4 3P%, 84.6 FT%, 3.6 AST, 3.6 REB, 2.8 TOV, 1.4 STL, 0.2 BLK

Age: 23

Strengths:

Russell elevated himself to being one of the better off the dribble three point shooters in the league. The high arc on his shot made every made basket from the area look like a thing of beauty. Combined with that, he possesses an array of skills from the mid-range, including a lethal floater.

D’Lo also has a wide arsenal when it comes to his passing game. The chemistry he shares with teammates is reflected in the rate of assists he displayed.

Outside of his skillset the budding guard also improved drastically as a leader and closer. Whichever team lands him in free agency is not only getting a quality talent, but a quality teammate and person to match.

Weaknesses:

D’Lo is never going to be a good defender. He’ll show minor glimpses through his improved effort but he’ll never be an above average defender, thanks mainly to his lacklustre speed and athleticism.

There are moments where Russell would struggle to impact on games if his shot wasn’t falling. While that did improve, it’s still an area he needs to focus on to take the next step. A facet which could help this is getting to the line more. He’s never been good at drawing contact and fouls in the restricted area despite having good size and strength.

Outside of the obvious deficiencies on defense, D’Angelo certainly has the ability to bridge the gap on the weaker sides of his game.

Ideal Role:

While being the number one option on the Brooklyn Nets, Russell’s ideal role on a championship would be as a third, or at best second option. His limitations on both ends prevent him from being in the upper echelon which is needed for championship level contention. Though with the right pieces around him, he could prove invaluable as an offensive weapon.

Possible Landing Spots:

The Brooklyn Nets hold his restricted free agency rights though it seems more and more unlikely that they’ll retain him as they look elsewhere to fill their starting point guard position.

That leaves a heap of other teams in the running for the All-Star’s services. Indiana, Phoenix, Minnesota, Orlando, Utah, Chicago, New York and the Lakers have all been linked in some form to Russell. The young guard will have no shortage of suitors as the free agency period rapidly approaches.

Expected Next Contract:

The Nets can offer Russell the most money and years (5 years/$158.1 million). The max a rival team could offer is 4 years and $117.2 million.

The minimum range he’s likely to get from Brooklyn would be four or five years at $20-25 million per annum. Will a team be willing to throw a massive offer sheet his way? Will Brooklyn let him become an unrestricted free agent? Only time will tell.

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