SAN FRANCISCO -- Four months ago, the Warriors acquired perhaps the best consolation prize a team could get when losing a top-five talent like Kevin Durant.
A 23-year old All-Star guard, D'Angelo Russell was one of the most efficient pick-and-roll initiators in the NBA last season, helping the Brooklyn Nets to a playoff berth.
Entering his first season in Golden State, Russell -- one of the team's eight roster additions -- simultaneously is adjusting to his third home in four years, while adopting a motion offense predicated on constant movement and little playcalling. Now, following a subpar debut in Saturday's 123-101 preseason loss to the Lakers, Russell still is finding his role on the team.
"It's all brand new to us," Russell said Saturday evening. "We got a lot of new guys. I'm trying to figure it out, including myself. It's not really second nature for a lot of us yet. It's just the more we play, the more we practice, watch film on it, the easier it'll get I think."
Russell, who scored four points while shooting 2-of-9 from the field, showed signs of rust early on. His first shot attempt, a contested 26-foot 3-pointer, barely drew iron. By the end of the first quarter, he missed three of his first four shots finishing minus-14 through the first 12 minutes.
This is a much different offense for the young guard, though. In 81 games last season, Russell initiated the pick-and-roll 49.9 percent, finishing fifth in the league. While Russell pushed the Nets to the third-best pick-and-roll team, the Warriors finished second-worst in the league in such actions.
Under Kerr, Golden State has opted for a motion offense predicated on little playcalls and players moving within a basic set of rules.
"It's just make the reads and go, and just for the most part, don't stop moving and good things will happen," Warriors guard Steph Curry said.
Despite the outcome, Russell did show signs of promise. In the first quarter, he found Curry for a wide-open 3-pointer. Minutes later, he threw a pinpoint pass between four defenders to rookie forward Eric Paschall, leading to a put-back dunk. With Klay Thompson out until the All-Star break, Russell's exploits will need to be shown on a nightly basis, which Kerr is confident will happen.
"The main thing is he just has to get his legs underneath him," Kerr said. "You saw him make some brilliant passes. He's a wonderful passer, and I think he's going to make a huge impact on our team, handling the ball, and distributing, and making shots.
"He's not a guy who plays a ton of pickup ball in the summer. So, he uses the preseason to get his conditioning, and you could see he wasn't quite there, and nor did I expect him to be on game one."