A day after the Warriors sent D'Angelo Russell (and some other players) to Minnesota for Andrew Wiggins (and some picks) Steve Kerr confirmed to reporters what everybody already kind of assumed, which is that Russell was never really a great positional fit for Golden State.
Oh well, if ever there was a season to try some different things, this would be the one.
“To be perfectly blunt, the fit was questionable when we signed him,” Kerr said to reporters. “But nobody questioned that. When you already have Steph and Klay, and you add a ball-dominant guard, you can rightfully question the fit. That was one of the reasons that trade rumors started before the season ever began. I think D’Angelo understood that when he signed the contract, and I think our organization understood that as well.”
Russell, who made his first All-Star team in 2019, had been acquired this past July in a sign-and-trade that brought Kevin Durant to Brooklyn. That came about a month after Klay Thompson ripped his ACL in the NBA Finals. But the experiment that saw the pairing of Russell with Stephen Curry was derailed when the latter player also got injured with a busted hand about two weeks into the 2019-20 season.
“A trade ended up happening. I think we at least got a 50-game look at what it might look like,” said Kerr. “Of course, that kind of went awry when Steph got injured, but you get a good enough look and a long enough look to picture how the positional fit goes, and I think you have an idea, I think we have an idea that the other player makes more sense — in this case I would say for both teams.”
Now that the end has come for that short-lived era, Kerr (along with probably everyone else who's given the matter thought) thinks that that "other player" (Wiggins) is a much better fit for a Warriors squad once Curry and Klay Thompson return to action.
“Obviously a huge part of this trade is we know Andrew [Wiggins] is a better positional fit for us than D’Angelo was, just given that Steph and Klay will be back by next season and hopefully before that in Steph’s case,” the longtime coach said. “So there’s a good positional fit athletically, now it’s a matter of catching Andrew up to speed on what we like to do here.”
After a run of five straight appearances in the NBA Finals, the Warriors are currently 12-40, which is currently good for the crappiest record in the NBA. Still, it's highly unlikely that this will be a prolonged stretch of stinkiness as that abysmal mark can be largely blamed on those aforementioned injuries to Curry's hand and Thompson's ACL.