The Minnesota Timberwolves made a mid-season move to acquire star guard D’Angelo Russell. In doing so, they mortgaged the future to get a player that has a really high skill level but also lines up exactly with Karl-Anthony Towns timeline as a player.
Recently, Bleacher Report ranked the top-15 players at each position over the course of the 2019-20 NBA season. For the point guards, Minnesota Timberwolves’ guard Russell came in at 14 on the list, placing just above Spencer Dinwiddie (who came 15th) and below Fred VanVleet (13th), Eric Bledsoe (12th), De’Aaron Fox (11th), and Ja Morant (10th).
In fairness, Russell did not live up to expectations set upon him to start the season. In Golden State, the team around him had almost no talent after Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were both injured, and Draymond Green was both inconsistent and often out of the lineup.
While Russell was not great for the Golden State Warriors (and was there for the hard majority of the season), he also did look very good in a Timberwolves uniform. Russell was a high-level shooter and passer – and while the team did not have star center Karl-Anthony Towns for almost any games when Russell arrived, he still looked very good and clearly improved the players around him as well.
It is hard to argue that he had a better season than any of the point guards listed above him (which goes to show how well the list itself was made). That said, it would also not be correct to say some of the players listed above him are overall better long-term for their respective teams than Russell is for Minnesota.
While it may not be reasonable to assume that Russell will one day be atop the list, he certainly will eventually may a play to become top-5. It is notable though, that there are lots of young quality point guards in today’s NBA. The aforementioned Grizzlies star Ja Morant is likely going to win rookie of the year this season. Others include Luka Doncic, De’Aaron Fox, Trae Young, and Ben Simmons.
It is impossible to predict the future, but it is safe to assume D’Angelo Russell will continue to climb this particular figurative latter.