Assessing D’angelo Russel’s first month as a member of the Timberwolves


Erik Drost, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons

Russell played with the Brooklyn Nets during the 2018-2019 season.

Aaron Latterell, Staff Writer

It has been two months since the Minnesota Timberwolves traded shooting guard Andrew Wiggins, a protected 2021 first-round draft pick, and also a 2022 second-round draft pick, for superstar point guard D’Angelo Russell. The deal with the Golden State Warriors also included the additions of Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman to the Wolves roster.

At the time of the acquisition on February 6th, the struggling Timberwolves had just recorded their 35th loss of the season. D’Angelo Russel had just put up the best stat line of his career, averaging 23.6 points and 6.2 assists per-game earlier this season during his 33-game stint with the Golden State Warriors. Before this recent trade for D’Lo, the T-Wolves had tried out six separate players at the point guard position this season, with none being able to really deliver. With Russell’s well-known passing and ball-handling skills, the T-Wolves are trying to finally fill this gap in the line-up once and for all. The Wolves are also attempting to capitalize on D’Lo’s chemistry with Karl Anthony Towns. Towns, who has been the Wolves’ top point-scorer this season, is good friends with D’Lo. The T-Wolves have long been considered this superstar pairing as a potential cure for their team, and now they finally have it. 

It will be exciting to see if Russell will grow to fill the spot of the franchise player that he is currently cut out to be. ”

— Aaron Latterell

The expectations for D’Lo have certainly been high, but now, after being in Minnesota for almost exactly a month, how has his performance stacked up? Though the sample size may be small, D’Lo’s stat line for his first nine games is looking pretty promising for the Wolves.  D’Lo has averaged a very respectable 23.1 points and 6.7 assists per game. Even then, this is a slight decline from his first five games for the T-Wolves, where he averaged an astonishing 24.4 points and 8.0 assists per game. This makes him only one of three NBA players to put up 24+ points and 8+ assists in their first five games with a franchise – the two others being Allen Iverson and Lebron James. Over 9 games, D’Lo has also put up the highest shooting percentages of his career thus far, making 43.6% of field goal attempts and an impressive 37.9% of his 3-pointers.  

Due to Karl Anthony Towns playing very few games recently, caused by a fractured wrist, we have not been able to see the full potential of the chemistry between Towns and D’Lo. Despite this, D’Lo has shown promise incorporating himself into the new roster. The Timberwolves, looking for a solid point-scorer and play-maker, seem to have found him in D’Angelo Russell. As the success of Russell’s playing style depends largely on how many three’s he sinks in a given game, it is not unlikely that we may see these stats fluctuate over time. It is not a guarantee that these stats hold up over time, but at the very least D’Lo has demonstrated what he is capable of as a new member of the Wolves roster. With D’Lo locked into a long-term four-year contract, it will be exciting to see if Russell will grow to fill the spot of the franchise player that he is currently cut out to be. 

Update: The NBA just canceled their season so hopefully next year (2020-2021) Russell and Towns will compliment each other’s game on the court and meet the fans’ high expectations.