3. D’Angelo Russell
The newest addition to the roster, D’Angelo Russell is looking to make a strong impact on the Golden State Warriors.
We can expect the 23-year old to struggle early on. An underwhelming 2-for-9 shooting performance in his preseason debut confirmed that Russell’s learning curve will be steep. He is entering a pressure-filled situation with a ton of expectations resting on his shoulders.
In years prior, D-Lo had been a rising star on the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets. His career looked as if it was coming to a dead end as Magic Johnson and the Lakers gave up on him. Then, D-Lo exploded in the 2018-19 NBA season to reach his first All-Star game and be nominated for the Most Improved Player Award.
The young star averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game last season as he led the Nets to the playoffs. He led the team through his ability to create in the pick and roll and was one of many talented prospects on the Nets roster.
Now, his role has shifted to being Stephen Curry’s new splash brother. This means that D-Lo will have to live up to some hefty expectations in order to avoid being a failure. The Warriors are going to rely heavily on Russell to score while Klay Thompson nurtures his torn ACL.
Not only will D-Lo be asked to fill in for Thompson, but he has to live with the fact that he was the Warriors’ best option after losing Kevin Durant. Filling in for the likes of Thompson and KD is going to be a tall task for such a young player.
Russell will have to replace the offensive production that the Dubs are missing without Thompson and Durant. If he fails to do this, the Dubs’ chances of reaching the postseason will plummet significantly.