The Blossoming of a Star
The detail that has been grossly overlooked by many with regards to the Warriors’ acquisition of D’Angelo Russell lies within his potential longevity. This is not a one-year deal after all, and Russell is only 23 years old.
Much can be said about Russell’s substantial growth as a player and a person over the last season, and Russell now resides in a culture of winning and excellence, from top to bottom. When stating that Russell is “gonna blossom into a superstar”, Klay is certainly thinking into the future when discussing his new teammate.
Coming out of college as the second overall pick, Russell’s on-court talent was never questioned. A rough start in Los Angeles with the Lakers did not detract from his very obvious ability, but the increased spotlight on his actions rendered a move to Brooklyn necessary.
One all-star appearance later, and Russell has broken through from prodigy to star. The next rung on the ladder is precisely what Thompson is referring to – the superstar spot.
While the departures of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston unfortunately removes veteran leadership especially amongst the guard positions, Russell is being inserted into a backcourt many believe to be the best in the NBA with Steph and Klay, and there are not many players in the world that you would choose to mentor you into superstardom than the two-time MVP.
With Draymond Green also acting as a locker room enforcer to keep Russell in check with a head coach who played with Jordan and Duncan, San Francisco could be the perfect place for Russell to bloom into that player Thompson believes he can become.
These next four seasons will signal a changing of the guard in the Warriors’ rotation, and if it all goes to plan, Russell can be integral to any future success along the way.