Here’s the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell:
D’Angelo Russell, the man known for having “ice in his veins” — an ode to his clutch shot making — spent the most important minutes of the Timberwolves’ season on the bench.
Russell sat in favor of Jordan McLaughlin for the final five minutes of Minnesota’s Game 6 loss on Saturday at Target Center. That certainly wasn’t Russell’s preference. He noted Saturday that everyone wants to be in a position to do their job.
“Of course I want to be out there,” he said.
But he didn’t earn that opportunity. Not with his play Saturday, not with his play throughout the first-round series, and frankly not with his play over the past couple of months. Over his final 14 appearances of the regular season, Russell averaged just 13.4 points a game, shooting 37 percent from the floor and 29 percent from deep. Over the back portion of the season, Russell had the Timberwolves’ worst defensive rating and net rating.
Then came a dynamic play-in performance against the Los Angeles Clippers that helped Minnesota punch its playoff ticket. But that turned out to be a blip on the radar and not a precursor to playoff success. Russell averaged 12 points and nearly three turnovers per game in the first-round loss, shooting 33 percent from the field.