Golden State Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell won't get to play with Klay Thompson for much of the 2019-20 season, but the idea of teaming up with the two Splash Brothers has him thinking 2K20.
"I think it's like a video game. You got three guys who can shoot the three at a high clip," Russell told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. "I think that's really exciting for the fans. Threes are obviously worth more than twos at the end of the day, so I think it gives us an opportunity to win. I'm so excited, and I think we're going to bring a lot of excitement [to the fans]."
Russell, 23, signed a max contract with the Warriors this summer as part of a sign-and-trade that sent him to Golden State and Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets. The Warriors are his third team in just five seasons.
"I think this situation gives me an opportunity to be a sponge," Russell said. "I can learn a lot from everyone: a Hall of Fame coach—one of the winningest coaches ever—and from three different players who are Hall of Famers. It's cool, man. This is a Hall of Fame organization that I get to a part of."
Russell averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game last season on 43.4 percent shooting, making his first All-Star team.
The mix with Steph Curry and Thompson seems odd, and it's a partnership that may not last for the duration of his four-year contract. Russell has played with the ball largely in his hands during his NBA career, and while Curry and Thompson especially are strong without the ball, the role of facilitator has typically gone to Draymond Green.
Russell can play off the ball in the Thompson role until he returns, but there are some legitimate fit questions once the four All-Stars are healthy and on the floor together. He said he's not worried about the potential of his role changing in Golden State.
"I think [we have] a lot of players out there who will just allow [me] to be a basketball player—not having to focus on running the team or being the defensive [anchor] or whatever," Russell said. "There are so many great talents out there that will just allow me to be a basketball player. It's a situation where I can go in and not worry about being on-the-ball or off-ball or coming off the bench or whatever. I am just being a basketball player. If I have the ball in my hands, I'll make a play. If don't, I'll try to get in position to make a play. I think that's what it comes down to."
While Russell is correct that the Curry-Russell-Thompson trio is ideal in a video game, they'll have to prove it together on an actual basketball floor. Until they do, those who believe the Warriors simply added Russell to eventually trade him for their next star piece will keep speculating.