The trade that brought D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves has turned into a huge mistake, contends Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune. Minnesota was looking for more size and scoring in its backcourt when it sent Andrew Wiggins and a pair of draft picks — one of which became Jonathan Kuminga — to Golden State in exchange for Russell and two other players at the 2020 trade deadline. Wiggins wound up as a vital cog in the Warriors’ title team, while Russell continues to frustrate Wolves fans, Souhan states.
The latest embarrassing incident came in the first half of tonight’s loss to the Suns when Russell didn’t realize he was supposed to be on the court. Minnesota played a four-on-five possession that resulted in a Phoenix three-pointer. Souhan notes that Russell came into the game ranked 211th overall in Player Efficiency Rating and 42nd among point guards in a 30-team league.
After being benched in the playoff series against Memphis, Russell hasn’t looked any different this season, according to Souhan. He observes that the Wolves often look uncertain on the court, which shouldn’t happen to a team with a veteran point guard.
There’s more from Minnesota:
- The Wolves are still working out a role on offense for Rudy Gobert, who returned tonight after missing two games while in the health and safety protocols, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Gobert’s new teammates, particularly Karl-Anthony Towns, have been trying to make sure he gets enough touches. “The guys have been great looking for me, especially KAT,” Gobert said. “I can tell he’s been doing a lot of effort hitting me on the duck-ins, hitting me on the lobs. I think that’s the way we’re going to play if we want to be a great offensive team, be able to space for each other, move the ball, have the ball not stick.”
- Veteran forward Taurean Prince has become a locker room leader for the Wolves and he credits the influence of former teammate Patrick Beverley, particularly in film sessions, Hine adds. “He really taught me how to break down film and really process it quicker,” Prince said. “That’s helped me be in more of the right spots defensively. So I appreciate him for that. Now I’m also able to … put it in a way to where other guys understand it as well, and they’re maybe thinking two or three steps ahead.”
- After Monday’s loss to the Knicks, Anthony Edwards expressed concerns that the Wolves are getting a reputation for being soft, Hine states in a separate story. “It’s hard, man,” Edwards said. “I don’t know, man. We’re going to try to figure it out, because that’s what it looks like right now. That’s what teams are saying, from the looks of it. They’re coming out like, ‘We’re going to punk them.’ That’s what’s going on.”