D’Lo: When you’re hot you’re hot. When you’re not, you’re not.

Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell, at times, can be one of the most unstoppable players on the basketball court. His ability to score, when he’s ‘on,’ can lift the team from the depths of despair to the highest mountain peaks of exhilaration.  When he is one, the Minnesota Timberwolves appear to flash the presence of being unbeatable.

And yet, there is the other, darker side of D’Angelo Russell. When that player steps onto the basketball court, there are no cheers are highlight video footage. It is a player who turns the ball over, misses shots, and has almost no interest or ability to lead the team, pass the basketball to a teammate, or even for staying on the court for a full rotation.

That’s the trouble that the Minnesota Timberwolves must face like with guard D’Angelo Russell. When he’s hot, he’s hot. But when he’s not? He’s not.

The cycle of tides

The Minnesota Timberwolves are caught in a vicious cycle of tides. When the tide rolls in, Russell looks every bit like the type of player who can be a major contributor to an NBA team’s success. When the tide rolls out, the entire concept of D’Angelo Russell as a major contributor appears to be a mirage, or worse yet, fool’s gold.

That’s a problem for the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team with plenty of other problems right now that have commandeered the full attention of the coaching staff. With the prolonged absence of power forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns and backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin already straining the Timberwolves roster with prolonged injuries, the team has no wiggle room to give to one of the most costly players on the roster who may or may not be on in any particular game.

The fact that D’Angelo Russell performs to such levels of extremes is the reason why Timberwolves fans have polarized to such passionate extremes. Those who love the guy love what he brings to the Timberwolves roster, to the basketball court, to the scoreboard, and ultimately to the win column.

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Fans who are equally as passionate over the demand that the team rid him from the roster cite the same reasons, but the opposite performances.  They point to the games where he is not contributing. Sadly, both sides are correct.