As we climb closer and closer to the 2015 NBA draft, the Sixers are anxiously waiting to see what their future might entail. Despite a couple strong wins, they are still very much in the hunt for a top pick. So who is the perfect pick for the Sixers? Easy. His name is D’Angelo Russell.
There are many things that the Philly team is missing this year. You could point out the 18 turnovers a game. Or the mere 20 assists per outing. But the stat and weakness that stands out the most to me is the lack of scoring. The Sixers are averaging only 90 points per game, shooting 31% from three, and have just 3 players above 10 points per game. Ouch.
That’s where young D’Angelo Russell comes into play. One of the most effective scorers in the nation, he is averaging 19 points per game and carrying an okay Ohio State team to a winning season.
The Sixers lack a go to scorer. Michael Carter-Williams has trouble creating space and finishing. Tony Wroten is not consistent enough and is out for the season. Nerlens Noel is still developing go to moves. The numbers back it up as well.
DLo, as they call him, is shooting an impressive 43% from three point range. This is especially breathtaking when noting he has taken 167 shots from beyond the arc. And a lot of those shots are not wide open. Russell can consistently knock down shots from two steps behind the three ball line and pull up with a hand in his face. His quick and short stroke helps him fire looks that some NBA players can’t even get off.
The Buckeye is also meticulous. He picks at the defense till he finds a hole and can drop a bucket. He likes to use his body to maneuver in the paint, which helps him get to the line and find layups. In addition, his patience on offense helps to create shots for himself. You can harp on athleticism, but this kid has a high basketball IQ that he uses to his advantage. All of these pieces help him to be such an effective scorer.
To add to that, I think he plays a lot like James Harden. Yeah, he doesn’t have the strength or body type like Harden, but they have the same game presence. Harden and Russell excel at using jab steps, pump fakes, and space to dictate what they do with the rock. They aren’t super athletic so they have to find other ways to score. Their ability to perform at such a high level with basic moves represent a couple reasons why they are so good. Not only that but Russell has a quick and consistent shot similar to Harden. Both are very successful shooters, and this ultimately opens up other lanes that they use to their advantage.
DLo knows his limitations and uses his high basketball IQ to make him such an effective player. He doesn’t just score. He actually can do everything. This year for the Buckeyes, he is averaging an impressive 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists to go along with his 19 points. And don’t forget about his 6’9 wingspan, which is a natural gift that could make him into a fantastic defender. He already excels at jumping in passing lanes and bothering ball handlers (1.7 steals per game). All in all, D’Angelo Russell might not be the most athletic in the draft, but his keen basketball senses and ability to score give him attributes that will fit right into the Sixers’ puzzle.
First image courtesy of: internationalathleticsreport.files.wordpress.com