D'Angelo Russell is a player that struggled in the playoffs this season, and there's no doubt that he had a down year overall. He was still solid as a third option on the Minnesota Timberwolves though, averaging 18.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 7.1 APG while shooting 34.0% from beyond the arc.
This summer, D'Angelo Russell was featured in multiple trade rumors. In fact, a report even claimed that he would be traded on draft night. That didn't end up happening, and since then, the Minnesota Timberwolves have traded for defensive star Rudy Gobert. It is clear that the team either has plans for him or has found no suitable trade offers.
A recent report by Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic has revealed that D'Angelo Russell might have to play out the last year of his contract, and "might not get the long-term contract extension" that "he was looking for".
He still might not get the long-term contract extension he was looking for, but bringing in Gobert to serve as a pick-and-roll partner with Russell should make Russell’s life a lot easier. Russell did some real damage last season while leading the second unit and pairing with backup center Naz Reid, who is more comfortable rolling to the basket while Towns prefers to pop after he sets a screen and shoots a jumper. Russell is a gifted passer, especially in squeezing a ball into tight windows, and Gobert has much better hands than Jarred Vanderbilt, so the fit should be seamless. Gobert is also one of the best screeners in the game, which should afford Russell plenty of clean looks against the drop coverage he will face by opponents concerned about the lob threat that Gobert represents.
On defense, Gobert will be there to cover for Russell when he is beaten off the dribble. Russell improved defensively last season but still is considered a subpar defender. Now he has the best rim protector in the league behind him to erase mistakes.
All this adds up to potentially a very strong season for Russell, who might have to play out the final year of his contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer. A big season would likely equal another big payday for him.
Perhaps we'll see D'Angelo Russell have a productive season, now that he has a player that works well with him in Rudy Gobert. Chemistry and fit are important aspects of basketball and it is quite possible that Russell will look better next year.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will likely be among the best teams in the Western Conference next season, and perhaps they'll have enough to make the Finals. D'Angelo Russell having a good season will be key to their success, and hopefully, he shows out ahead of next season's free agency.