Role I: Set the right example
We’ve occasionally addressed the notion that the Minnesota Timbewolves are in an incredibly unique NBA set of circumstances. You see, the conception that the Timberwolves have one shot to pull this all together is absolutely not true. In fact, like a space-exploring rocket ship, the second stage may be more powerful than the first stage.
The veteran leadership on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster before trading away D’Angelo Russell was Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and D’Angelo Russell. But the team has another stage of future NBA stars in Naz Reid, Jaden McDaniels, and Anthony Edwards. That is something that few other NBA teams have right now.
Gobert was the veteran example for Jaden McDaniels. Towns was the veteran example for Naz Reid. And Rusell was the veteran example for Anthony Edwards. But what type of example? Not all have been the type the Timberwolves front office had hoped they might be:
Not everything was running according to the script.
Lead, follow, or get out of the way
The fundamental role of teaching younger players the right way to go about your business is an item that few would check the box for D’Angelo Russell. It’s nothing new, as D’Angelo Russell’s feud with teammate Nick Young started with DLo recording Young talking about cheating on then-fiance Iggy Azalea. Later that year, Russell was traded to the Brooklyn Nets, while Young was traded to the Golden State Warriors.
Now, years later, D’Angelo Russell is still setting bad examples, making poor decisions, and showing more me than most NBA teams are comfortable with.
In the end, the Timberwolves appear to be in a better situation now, and D’Angelo Russell is part of a Lakers team that will likely benefit from his skillsets more.