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What Would Have Happened If The Sixers Drafted D’Angelo Russell

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Jun 25, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State) shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number two overall pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Too Good For Three

Russell got taken second overall in the draft, and why not? SBNation did a great overview of his game against VCU in the March Madness tournament this year, and what went wrong, as well as what went right.

Simply put, Russell was too good to be passed up by the Lakers. The assumption that he would have fallen to number three was a faulty one to begin with, but to be fair, Okafor was projected to be the number one overall pick in the draft. Players don’t always end up where they should be as far as how good they are or the skills they possess. In the context of the tools teams are looking for, they could pass up or deny almost any player.

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If you didn’t watch much of Russell last season, take a look at these videos below. The first summarizes his ability to get inside, take matters into his own hands and score. The second highlights his heads-up mentality and passing abilities.

Russell is lanky, but a quick dribbler. His handles are often confusing to defenders, and leaving them in a daze trying to figure out how he got to score on them. 30% of his teammates field goals were assisted by Russell when he was on the floor last season, proving his ability to dish, but he can also take things into his own hands.

He shot 44.9% from the field, scoring 19.3 points per game. His ball handles allow him to get in close to the hoop, while not sacrificing his body, since there’s no need for him to get physical.

He also utilizes handles to go coast to coast and score.

The above example isn’t one of my favorites, because I felt Russell should have passed there. For the most part, he’s smart about passing, and knows when he should take control, and when to pass.

In this video, almost everyone — especially the Iowa defense — is completely unaware of the player cutting to the hoop. A heads-up guy, Russell sees this and feeds him the ball, in an impressive fashion. The player should have easily been able to finish this shot, but we can still marvel at the passing genius of D’Angelo Russell.

All of these skills will translate well to the NBA, and he’s going to fit in nicely wherever most of his career takes place. He’s set himself up nicely and acquired skills that allow him to be a high-statistic player.

Next: How Would He Fit In With The Sixers?