Warriors' D'Angelo Russell soaks in time with Steph Curry in first practice

Warriors' D'Angelo Russell soaks in time with Steph Curry in first practice

SAN FRANCISCO -- Warriors guards D'Angelo Russell and Stephen Curry traded turns shooting on the same court Tuesday afternoon following Golden State's first training-camp practice, in a visual that marked the beginning of their backcourt partnership. 

For months, Russell has been waiting for the opportunity to work alongside Curry on a regular basis. On Tuesday, he got his first chance. 

"Definitely that first day of school vibe," Russell said Tuesday after the Warriors' two-and-a-half-hour practice.

The Warriors' addition of Russell -- who officially signed a four-year, $117 million contract in July -- brings together one of the most formidable backcourt duos in the league. However, the luxury comes with a caveat.

Last season, Russell among the league's leaders in initiating the pick and roll, which clashes with Golden State's motion offense that Curry has thrived in. Fortunately for Russell, his experience with Kings coach Luke Walton -- who coached on Kerr's staff from 2014 through 2016 and coached Russell for a year with the Los Angeles Lakers -- gave the fifth-year pro an advantage entering his first camp with the Warriors. 

"I've been around a little bit to know what the schemes are, so it's all becoming second nature for me," Russell said. "Just having that experience around the league, a little bit of guarding these guys throughout a year and playing against them throughout a year. So you kind of pick up on it."

"It's really helpful for the D'Angelo to have played for Luke because a lot of the stuff we do in practices are very similar," Kerr added.

Russell enters his first season in Golden State as the franchise finds itself in a unique position. During Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, guard Klay Thompson tore his ACL, prompting a rehabilitation that could extend to next March.

With most of Thompson's season shelved, Russell and Curry will be forced to take turns off the ball, which Kerr believes can work. 

"I think he'll be good off the ball," Kerr said of Russell. "He's a clever passer. A clever basketball player, so he understands how to come off a pindown without the ball and then once he gets in traffic in the paint, he knows how to create either a shot or get the ball out to someone who is not covered and that's a big deal."

[RELATED: Draymond already messing with Warriors rookie guard Poole]

Joining the Warriors also gives Curry a chance to guide Russell. Over the summer, the two occasionally worked out together in the Bay Area. Following the pair's first session, Russell called his dad and brother to express excitement.

On Tuesday, he mentioned he modeled his game after the former MVP and hopes to learn as much as he can from Curry. 

"I mean coming into the league, I was kind of frail and I could shoot the ball a little bit. I could pass the ball a little bit," Russell said. "So just watching him throughout his process of being able to guide and take advantage of being frail and how I use that against a stronger defender, or how he got his shot off and get some more athletic defenders, stuff like that.

"I tried to take away from [that] cause that's something that I had a problem with coming into the league. Like I said, playing a few years, watching ... his process and a few other guys' processes, you see, you pick up on things."

Warriors' Draymond Green excited to play like he did pre-Kevin Durant

Warriors' Draymond Green excited to play like he did pre-Kevin Durant

It's wild how things can change so quickly in such a short amount of time.

In late September -- just before the Warriors opened training camp -- Draymond Green had lofty expectations for the 2019-20 season.

"I'm going back to the way I was pre-KD (Kevin Durant), and that's exciting to me," he told Sam Alipour of ESPN in an article published Friday. "I had to give up shots to make sure Kevin gets his touches, and I don't regret that. It got me a couple of championships.

"But as a competitor, as someone who's still in his prime, who's been in the gym all summer trying to improve my game, it's exciting to know that I can go back to playing the way that I was playing before.

"You haven't seen the best of me. I'm definitely not at my peak. I have so much room to grow, new heights that I can reach -- like becoming a 40 percent 3-point shooter. That'd be amazing, right?

"My shooting dropped off the last couple of seasons, but it's tough when you're taking only two or three 3s a game. My percentages were a lot higher when I took more."

Well, fast forward six weeks later and Draymond finds himself in unchartered territory as the Warriors (2-10) have the worst record in the NBA.

Plain and simple, he doesn't look like himself so far. He not only is playing without Klay Thompson, but Steph Curry also won't be taking the floor for several more months, and Kevon Looney remains out indefinitely.

As a result, the Warriors predominantly have become a pick-and-roll team, as Draymond finds himself watching D'Angelo Russell run the show.

"I’ve always been a playmaker. I don't really have the ball much," the three-time All-Star told reporters Monday night after Golden State's loss to the Jazz.

"This is going to allow him to play off the ball and space out and work on his shot," coach Steve Kerr told the media Tuesday. "I'm going to encourage that. He can get that confidence back."

Let's take a look at Draymond's 3-point shooting over the years:
-2015-16 = 38.8 percent on 3.2 attempts
-2016-17 = 30.8 percent on 3.5 attempts
-2017-18 = 30.1 percent on 3.7 attempts
-2018-19 = 28.5 percent on 2.5 attempts

So Draymond's earlier point about fewer attempts negatively impacting his percentage doesn't really hold up, because he shot more triples in the first two seasons with KD than he did during his career-year in 2015-16.

But in his defense, Draymond making those shots didn't matter as much with KD onboard because the loaded Warriors probably were going to win the game anyway.

[RELATEDHow much one bettor makes if Warriors win 2020 NBA Finals]

That no longer is the case. And even if Draymond were to go 8-for-10 from deep in a game this season, the Dubs still might lose.

But thinking big picture, the two-time All-NBA selection absolutely should use this season to regain his consistency from beyond the arc (he went 2-for-4 on Wednesday against the Lakers). As it pertains to that 40 percent goal, the mindset he had in late September should not change.

Given the circumstances, that won't be easy on a nightly basis.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Bettor to make $1M if Warriors turn season around, win 2020 NBA Finals

Bettor to make $1M if Warriors turn season around, win 2020 NBA Finals

The Warriors (2-10) own the worst record in the NBA.

Klay Thompson probably isn't going to suit up at all this season, and Steph Curry might not take the floor again until March.

But that didn't stop a certain someone from essentially lighting $1,000 on fire:

Why didn't this person wire the $1,000 to my bank account? Daycare for a 10-month old isn't cheap.

There literally are at least 1,000 ways that the $1,000 could have been better utilized.

Perhaps it was this guy who placed the bet:

[RELATEDWhy LeBron didn't win his rivalry with Warriors in any way]

Or maybe the bettor thought the wager was on the Warriors landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Got to read the fine print on those betting slips!

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

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