Traded to Minnesota last February, D’Angelo Russell had a good time. Since his beginnings in high school, with a transfer to the Montverde Academy in particular, the leader is constantly on the move.
In the NBA, the game has not changed with two (complicated) seasons for the Lakers to start, then two (much better) seasons in Brooklyn, a big contract with Golden State which followed this famous transfer to join her big boyfriend, Karl-Anthony Towns, with the Timberwolves.
A freediving career
“My career is a bit like when you are in the water”, he explains in The Athletic. “I go out to take a breath, I see my career but I have to go back underwater. I go out to breathe, I review a bit of my career, and I am put back underwater. “
Barely arrived in the Bay, where the recent dynasty found itself in tatters, D’Angelo Russell had to pack his bags for the Far North. Enough to feed a few regrets with the injuries of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and the wasted season of the Dubs. “I thought I was going to learn from these guys. Even if I don’t play with them for long, I can ask them as many questions as possible. “
Obviously frustrating, this Californian detour was however a necessary step. The former Nets explains it simply: he had to capitalize on his All-Star season with 21 points and 7 assists.
Involved repeatedly in rumors already sending him to Minny last summer, D’Angelo Russell confirms that he was ready, but at the same time, he could not let the bank train pass without trying to attack, western style: “During that time, I figured if I went to Minnesota, I would play with Karl and the other guys on the team. I can finally ask myself and unpack my suitcases. But there was something telling me that I had to get every piece of contract at the value that was mine. “
In this case, it amounts to $ 29 million annually over the next three. A big bet for Wolves who are looking to rebuild the cherry in terms of reputation, favoring “well-being and cohesion” to renovate their brand image. Especially since D’Angelo Russell has not yet convinced him that he is a leader.
Still far too tender defensively, if not involved, the former No. 2 in the 2015 Draft still has a long way to go. But he also knows that he comes from afar.
Spotlights from Los Angeles and the farewell tour of Kobe Bryant in particular … An episode he keeps in memory, without having very fond memories of it. “I didn’t know what it was to be professional and I didn’t have that supervision [de la part des vétérans]. I do not blame anyone, I can only blame myself. It all happened very quickly, in the sense that I’ve been through so much since. “
All-Star with the Nets, D’Angelo Russell built a pretty hunting table with his decisive shots late in the game. “Brooklyn was a team that needed it just as it needed it,” says Antonio Russell Jr., D’Angelo’s big brother. “They built each other. ” But the leader still flayed his former coach, Kenny Atkinson a little: “I don’t give him credit for it, because I still think he didn’t know what he had with me, honestly. I don’t think he knew what I was capable of in the last quarter. “
Captain of the boat
By managing to hoist the Nets into the playoffs, D’Angelo Russell has clearly proven that he is no longer the mad, hairless young dog of the Lakers. However, to reach the highest level, mature among Wolves, it will still have to whip. As he said himself, once wedged in the comfortable 4 × 4 of his friend KAT on his arrival on the tarmac of Minneapolis: “Now is the time to get to work, boy. “
With Karl-Anthony Towns, but also Malik Beasley, the Gersson Rosas Wolves want to build a balanced team that wins over the long term. Better, Minny’s GM thinks big for his new leader. “Gersson thinks Russell is his Harden”, said a leader of the Western conference.
A pillar of the team in short. “Everything was going well for him, he was finally All-Star. It came out of its shell and showed its true potential “, recap Karl-Anthony Towns. “But it was not enough, it was not wanted, and they got rid of it. It’s a difficult situation for anyone. Our fans don’t see him as one piece among many, but a pillar of the team. I think this is the first time since high school that we count on him like this. “
Both left-handed and scorer, James Harden and D’Angelo Russell are two All-Stars, creative scorers, and the second will have to imitate the first and place his franchise at the top of the hierarchy.
At the very least, D’Angelo Russell is finally in the situation he dreamed of. It’s up to him to grab the rudder.
“I want my own ship”, he concludes. “I’m not saying it’ll be me alone. But if we lose, I’ll take a big chunk of the responsibility. If we win, it will be a big collective effort of which I was one. I wanted this situation. I take advantage of this knowing that I will have the opportunity to spend the rest of my career there if I take advantage of it. “
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