D’Angelo Russell, PG, Brooklyn Nets
I don’t usually suggest that my favorite team sign someone who “hid a contraband inside a contraband,” but when that player is D’Angelo Russell I could make an exception. The 23 year old finally looks the part of a Top 5 pick after he was selected to his first All-Star game this season.
Russell would be a “risky” max contract type player, but he does a lot of the things the Mavs want from their free agent. In an evident breakout year for the 4th year point guard, he posted a solid 21 .1 PPG on a 43/37/78 shooting line while also averaging 7 APG and 4 RPG. The perception is D’Lo had the ability to do what he wanted like Kemba does in Charlotte, however, that’s not necessarily the case.
It should not be forgotten that Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie are really solid role players. LeVert compares to Luka’s style of play; he’s a position-less, ball handling, play making wing player. Is he as good as Luka? No, but is he still important to that team? Most definitely.
Dinwiddie is an all rounded guard who is quite efficient. He had one of the lowest assist to turnover ratios when starting for the Nets in 2017. Dinwiddie can do a bit of everything but doesn’t do one particular thing really well.
Russell on the other hand became the youngest player to make 500 three pointers. His scoring output helped Brooklyn get to its first playoff series in what feels like forever. Even with a bad Game 5, he still averaged over 19 PPG on the series. Even though the efficiency wasn’t great, it’s worth noting he has valuable playoff experience that the two young stars on the Mavs don’t have just yet.
The perception is that Russell is a ball dominant guard. This is true to a degree. He averaged 7 assists per game and was only assisted on 15% of his 2 point field goals. However, he was assisted on 53% of his 3 point shots. The significance of this is the Mavs were 4th in the league in 3 point attempts per team.
Russell seems like a weird addition much like Kemba does, but Russell has experience playing in a heavy ball movement and floor spacing offense. Russell also is a better defender than Kemba and has equal playoff experience. Oh, did I mention he was 7 years younger?
With Russell’s sweet stroke and passing ability, he’d bode well with Doncic and the other floor spacers this team has. In addition, he’s a better defender than Kemba Walker and his game can still be molded as he’s yet to reach his athletic prime.