Los Angeles Lakers sophomore guard D’Angelo Russell is obviously not on Stephen Curry’s level as a player yet, but he hasn’t done anything to shy away from comparisons to the Golden State Warriors’ superstar. Russell himself was the first one to make the comparison, as it happens, way back at his first pre-draft workout in purple and gold.
“I see a great resemblance,” Russell told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News of himself and Curry. “His ball-handling is off the charts. His shot selection is similar to mine. But his work ethic to get him to where he’s at is similar to mine.”
Russell said this summer that he was hoping to pick new head coach and former Warriors assistant Luke Walton’s brain for tips on how to play like Curry, and as we saw in the Lakers’ win over the 73-win Warriors last year, he already has his celebrations down pat:
OH MY GOD HE DID THE STEPH CURRY. pic.twitter.com/aVP67a765w— Million Reasons (@GamePhreak845) March 6, 2016
The latest instance of Russell’s mimicry came in training camp. Remember this move from Curry a few weeks ago that blew up social media?
Steph at work pic.twitter.com/UbGQ1oEqKF— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) September 27, 2016
Russell is already adding it to his game:
Like Steph Curry, D'Angelo Russell also did the behind-the-back dribble move for a bucket in training camp (via @SpectrumSN) pic.twitter.com/9DSAkpn6ur— Advith (@darintellect) October 7, 2016
Unanimous MVPs and blown 3-1 leads in the Finals here we come!
In all seriousness, expecting Russell to reach Curry’s level as a player is highly premature. Russell has tons of potential, but every player is different, no matter how many aesthetic similarities in their games. Plus, not even Curry came into the league playing like he’s playing now, something Russell understood way back at that previously referenced pre-draft workout.
“He didn’t come into the league the way he is playing now,” Russell told Medina. “He took some time to become the player he developed to be.”
With a little patience, Russell could be special. Let’s just enjoy the flashes of potential and growth, for now.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.