Brooklyn Nets: Making an All-NBA case for D’Angelo Russell

Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets D’Angelo Russell (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /

D’Angelo Russell vs. Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons is in that Magic Johnson category of guards, in that he’s a power point at 6-foot-10 and 230 pounds. Half power forward, half point guard, all really good.

Simmons isn’t the scorer Russell is, but surrounded by Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick, he doesn’t have to be in order for the Philadelphia 76ers to find success.

Instead, Simmons thrives in the facilitator role and makes his scoring impact with drives over smaller or slower defenders.

But Russell still has a surprising advantage as a playmaker over the 76ers big (really big) guard.

The numbers bear that out:

Per Game Table
D’Angelo Russell 74 30.3 .433 7.8 .362 .509 2.5 .781 3.7 7.0 1.2 20.9
Ben Simmons 72 34.5 .568 0.1 .000 .568 5.4 .605 9.0 7.8 1.4 17.1

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/27/2019.

Advanced Table
Player G MP PER TS% 3PAr FTr AST% USG%
D’Angelo Russell 74 2241 19.3 .530 .418 .136 41.3 31.7
Ben Simmons 72 2486 20.3 .588 .005 .447 34.6 21.9

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/27/2019.

Russell has a surprisingly large lead over Simmons in assist percentage and while he can’t make Simmons’ field goal percentage and ancillary percentages based off that, there is one stat that shows the biggest difference between Simmons and Russell.

That would be 3-point attempts, where it’s Russell 577, Simmons 4. And with 209 made 3s, Russell has exactly (counts on fingers) … 209 more made 3s than Simmons’ total of zero.

Much has been made of Simmons’ jump shot — or lack thereof. Some of it isn’t fair, because the 76ers are faring just fine with Simmons being a non-factor from behind the arc.

However, as the Boston Celtics exposed during their Eastern Conference semifinal series in last year’s playoffs, when they took away Simmons and packed the defense into the paint, the 76ers collapsed.

The additions this time around of Butler and Harris should help alleviate that to a degree, as those are both shooters that have to be respected at the arc.

Fun fact in this head-to-head comparison: Russell, in his fourth NBA season, is exactly 148 days older than Simmons.