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D'Angelo Russell Seemingly Takes A Shot At Some NBA Stars: "The NBA Is Full Of Athletes, Not Basketball Players."

D'Angelo Russell Seemingly Takes A Shot At Some NBA Stars: "The NBA Is Full Of Athletes, Not Basketball Players."

The NBA fandom often gets caught up in several debates. Comparing eras, something which can make the old heads angry, the GOAT conversation, which riles up the younger fans, and many other subjects like this do the rounds on social media daily. One of the debates that has also swept up some players though, is the one about the difference between the 'hoopers' and basketball players. 

The league is as skilled as it has ever been, if not more. However, the improvements in sports science and medicine mean that there is a lot more athleticism that is necessary to thrive in today's league than was perhaps the case in the past. And this seems to have drawn comment from Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell, who has taken a shot at some of the seemingly less-skilled players. 

"The @nba is full of athletes not Basketball players. #Respectfully"

This debate is hard to quantify as the only objective way to measure basketball prowess is through stats. How those numbers are achieved is a different matter and often ends up being a matter of personal preference. While some may lament the passing of a time when players would iso more often to get themselves a shot with trickery and skill, in an era of efficiency, that type of basketball is simply no longer valuable. 

Russell is one of the players that relies on his skill more than anything else, so it's easy to see why he believes this. The comment is reminiscent of James Harden mocking Giannis Antetokounmpo by saying that all he can do is run and dunk. It would be remiss to think that the talent required to thrive in the NBA is no longer present. 

Also, considering that Nikola Jokic just won his 2nd MVP, and Luka Doncic made it to the All-NBA First Team for the third consecutive time, it would seem that non-athletic players are still appreciated in the NBA. Russell will have his reasons for making this statement, but considering that the Wolves are ready to contend next season, there will also be bigger things on his mind.