Minnesota Timberwolves: Russell sounds lukewarm on Ball pairing

Minnesota Timberwolves star D’Angelo Russell doesn’t sound enthused about the possibility of playing with LaMelo Ball.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have a tough decision to make with the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

With two stars already in the fold, should the Wolves focus on getting the best player available regardless of position? Or should they avoid duplicating strengths at point guard or center?

This week, D’Angelo Russell was on The Old Man & The Three podcast with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter and discussed a variety of topics. One of the more interesting questions during the “speed round” received a … tepid answer from Russell.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Russell sounds lukewarm on Ball pairing

At the 42:08 mark of the podcast, Russell was asked, “Would you be excited to play with LaMelo Ball?” Ball, of course, is tops on many analysts’ draft boards but duplicates much of the same skill set as Russell himself.

D’Lo’s response?

“I wouldn’t mind it, honestly, if – if that’s what it was and that’s what they see in the future…man, I’ve been in so many situations, I’d just attack it like any other.

Reading the quote doesn’t do it justice. If you listen to the audio, Russell struggles to contain his lack of enthusiasm for the idea. Not only that, listen closely and you can hear a muffled laugh in the background from at least one of the two hosts.

To be fair to Russell, this question probably doesn’t feel all too dissimilar to him as if Karl-Anthony Towns was asked about the prospects of the Wolves drafting big man James Wiseman with the No. 1 pick.

Of course, that would hardly be the same thing from a practical standpoint, as two ballhandlers such as Russell and Ball can coexist more easily than a pair of 7-footers in today’s NBA, but from a player’s standpoint, asked for an off-the-cuff reaction, it’s understandable why Russell would react in that way.

Also, let’s be clear: there’s nothing about Russell to suggest that he wouldn’t come around to the idea, much less that he wouldn’t be a good teammate if put in a situation in which he is sharing the court with another ball-dominant guard such as Ball.

At any rate, it’s an extremely candid and telling portion of the interview. The entire episode is a fun listen, with topics ranging from Russell’s rookie year with the Los Angeles Lakers, his playoff appearance with the Brooklyn Nets, his new-found obsession with golf, and how excited he is to share the court with Towns.

One thing is for sure: the open door, transparency-filled approach of Gersson Rosas, Ryan Saunders, and the entire front office and coaching staff will lend itself to buy-in from their star players.

Next: Most insiders believe Wolves will take Edwards

After all, the draft is still (at least) six weeks away…