Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 NBA Draft: Top 10 Prospects — D'Angelo Russell

#3 D'Angelo Russell — 6'5" 180 lbs | 19 yrs-old | Guard | Freshman | Ohio State

Bio: Before college, no one saw D’Angelo Russell coming. In the NBA, no one will miss him. D’Angelo Russell was never really the man on his teams until arriving at Ohio State. He played high school ball at Montverde (Fla.) Prep with Kentucky’s Dakari Johnson and Florida’s Kasey Hill and played AAU with Duke’s Grayson Allen. But in Columbus, he was finally given a chance to be in the spotlight—and he took advantage. Although he was a fringe top-25 recruit in high school, he’ll go no later than No. 5 in the NBA draft. That’s thanks to his prenatural maturity, court awareness and ability to produce points for his teammates and himself.
D'Angelo Russell [Upside: Michael Redd -vs- Downside:  Dante Exum] 
Strengths: Russell displayed tremendous poise at point guard, despite not having played the position in high school. He has tremendous court vision and perhaps has the best touch on his passes of any prospect in this draft. Some of his turnovers last year, in fact, were due to his teammates’ inability to wield his surprise assists. He has a filthy crossover and handles the ball against top-flight defenders with ease. His 6’9” wingspan makes him an asset defensively, and his court awareness makes him an underrated pickpocket defensively. Developmentally, he is way ahead of the curve for players his age yet still has tremendous upside. He can shoot from midrange, beyond the three-point line and finish at the rim on drives.
Weaknesses: He didn’t play point guard for the full year at Ohio State; instead, he slowly took more minutes from Shannon Scott in a hybrid role. He still needs to prove he can be a full-time point guard, but he is too valuable to play exclusively off the ball. He is not an explosive athlete, instead relying on his vision and basketball IQ to get a step on his defenders. On defense, he needs to play with more consistent intensity.
NBA comparison: James HardenSports Illustrated

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