The 2020 NBA trade deadline has come and gone and the biggest move of the day has to be the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors swapping their young max “stars” as D’Angelo Russell and Andrew Wiggings have been traded for one another.
You can say the Miami Heat deal for Andre Iguodala is a bigger deal because there are actual playoff implications and blah blah but I just shit all over Iggy less than 24 hours ago so I have to stand my ground on how bad I said he was.
But let’s explore this Warriors Timberwolves trade real quick. The MOST important trade of the season.
Timberwolves 2021 pick protected to No. 3, and becomes unprotected in 2022, per sources. Minnesota kept pushing for Russell, who it has wanted since summer free agency and finally got the point guard Gerssson Rosas imagined pairing with KAT. https://t.co/kfDNvsdBHX
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020
The immediate reaction for this trade seemed to be praise for the Timberwolves and dread for the Warriors.
Yes, Minnesota needed to make this deal. Karl-Anthony Towns has the longest losing streak for a No. 1 draft pick ever. Not great. Towns is a perennial candidate for All-NBA and the T-Wolves have won less games than the Knicks.
The Knicks would KILL for a Karl-Anthony Towns and apparently, they’re better without him.
It’s not necessarily Andrew Wiggins’s fault. The front office offered him a max contract for absolutely no reason and he would’ve been a fool to turn that down.
Unfortunately, he never quite lived up to being the No. 1 overall pick that Cleveland traded away for Kevin Love. With his size and alleged athleticism, he should be a bulldog defensively and instead, he need not even bother crossing half court. He’s a statue out there.
He often goes missing for long stretches of the game where you totally forget he’s on the floor. Minnesota essentially plays 4-on-5 occasionally throughout the game as Andrew Wiggins like, picks his nose and watches the game as if he has courtside seats.
All the Wiggins jokes are deserved.
But uh, when did D’Angelo Russell become this gold prize?
Sure, KAT and DLo are boys (for now). Russell is without a doubt an upgrade from Jeff Teague and the laundry list of randoms that they’ve attempted to plug in at the point guard position after Ricky Rubio left.
Russell is having the best season of his career scoring 23.6 points a night on 43% shooting from the field and 37% from the 3-point line. He also has a usage percentage of 31.4 which is 10th in the NBA just 1% lower than Russell Westbrook.
DLo is used to playing on bad rosters where he was without a doubt the best ball handler and scoring option. He’s never played with a guy like Karl-Anthony Towns and we’ve already seen KAT’s frustrations watching Jeff Teague just dribbling at the top of the key for 23 seconds.
This isn’t where I now praise Andrew Wiggins but he’s scoring 22.4 points on 44% shooting. I don’t believe that scoring 20 a night should automatically grant you a max contract. He is certainly overpaid but his current numbers almost match Harrison Barnes from the Warriors historic 2016-17 season.
D’Angelo Russell might have reached overrated levels. He made one All-Star team in a shitty Eastern Conference where all the best guards play in the West.
We also have to remember that team building and chemistry matters. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson standing in the corners as D’Angelo maneuvers around screens is probably the worst use of all three of those players.
Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns ran its course but the idea that Russell is going to walk into Minnesota and suddenly the two are going to start winning games is WILD.
Again, I’m not saying Wiggins is the missing piece to bring Golden State back to the Finals. I suppose my point is that both players are severely flawed but at least KAT and DLo can play Call of Duty in the same room or whatever.
Let’s see if D’Angelo Russell gets through Minnesota airport security with his Arizona iced tea can of weed.
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