As the NBA trade deadline was winding down last week, all signs pointed to D’Angelo Russel being traded. But for who? While in a contract year despite coming off being one of the hottest shooting Guards in the league over the past month. The Wolves realistic options were slim. Sign him to a new deal, or trade for someone like Mike Conley, Fred VanVleet, or Kyle Lowry. The answer was simple for the Wolves first-year GM: he had to go. We’ve learned from recent weeks that it was more of a Good Riddance exit than Goodbye. Warranted or not we will break it down.
The Highs and Lows of D’AngeloFrom KAT greeting him off the plane 3 years ago with his own customized jersey brightly looking towards the future, to being benched in the 6th and final game of the Memphis playoff series. He’s a player you either love or you love to hate and there isn’t much in between.
In this year alone, he has single-handedly won 6 games himself for the Wolves in the 4th quarter while also playing such bad defense in other games he was the reason they lost. When he’s on, he’s one of the best players in the game and when he’s cold he’s almost unplayable.I’ve always been on D’lo’s side and almost to my own detriment. When I see a player with his talent I see the ability to lift your team to the next level. We tend to look at the coach on why he isn’t playing up to his level and not to the player. In this case, I think it’s both.
Finch did what he could but got easily frustrated at the same time. It wasn’t until these past 2 months that he really figured out his shot and how he could excel at his position again. Unfortunately, he wore out his welcome with Timberwolves fans who watched him throw away winnable games. Personally, I would have signed him to an extension and looked to trade him next year. Karl’s ability to catch those more difficult passes from D’lo may have raised his trade value instead of settling for an older veteran.
Peace out D’loHis ultimate goodbye was mostly of his own doing this past month. It seems that tensions had soured in the Timberwolves locker room between D’lo and Rudy Gobert. He was reportedly openly talking about his frustration with how Rudy was unable to make easy shots and free throws.
He was also upset with how the offensive pace had slowed down and his inability to catch passes like other teammates could. If you have watched Timberwolves games this year you can see some of his frustrations are warranted.
Ultimately it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Like similar big personalities in Jimmy Butler and Pat Bev it seemed their way of doing things leads to their goodbye in a Timberwolves uniform.
As much as he could have helped he was always going to be the third to fourth option for the Wolves and finding a true point guard may ultimately raise Ant’s ceiling and boost Rudy Gobert’s value in the meantime. Mike Conley wasn’t my first choice, but I’ve slowly come around to the idea of it. The Wolves need wins and reuniting Conley with Gobert while Kat is
still out could result in more wins than D’lo was going to give us.
What’s Next for the HowlWith only a few games left before All-Star break, the Wolves walked into Dallas and stole a win behind what could be their winning recipe. Ant doing his All-Star things, Conley dishing to Rudy, and… Defense? Well, defense when it matters. Outside of giving up 26 to Kyrie Irving in the fourth quarter, the young guns stepped it up when it mattered. Ant and Jaden locked up Luka and Kyrie.
The talk around the NBA is about how the Wolves traded their future for Rudy Gobert’s defense, but Ant and Jaden are the Wolves future. We hope Conley and Rudy can help. It’s a tight race in the western conference and the Wolves could go either way, there’s a realistic shot we could finish at the 4th-5th seed or end up 10th or even out of the playoffs with just a few loses. Sit tight Wolves fans, we have a fun rest of the season.
Cheer for your All Star and future MVP.
7th-year Senior at UND. (not a doctor). 2021 6v6 sand volleyball champion. Read my thoughts on the Wolves, Gophers, and USMNT.
Call me out on Twitter @RG__II