When watching Steph Curry go over his famous pregame routine, there always is one person by the superstar's side: Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser.
Going into the 2019-20 NBA regular season, Fraser has closely been working with another Golden State guard. Fraser often is seen after practice expanding D'Angelo Russell's game as the young guard inserts himself into coach Steve Kerr's offense.
In Fraser's short time working with Russell, the coach already has been pleasantly surprised by the left-hander's shooting stroke.
"I knew he could shoot it, but he’s kept up with Steph in some of the drills and then there are areas of his game that he can improve on, so we’ve been working on that," Fraser said to the Mercury News' Wes Goldberg. "He’s going to be really good.”
One area in particular that Fraser wants the former No. 2 overall draft pick to work on is shooting off the dribble. The coach believes Russell compares well to Curry on shooting off the catch, but is quite behind the two-time MVP with pulling up off a dribble.
Fraser is using Curry as motivation, too. He personally witnessed how hard Steph worked over the years to master his craft and thinks Russell can get to that point as well.
"For D’Angelo, the exciting thing is that he has an even higher ceiling, so that, over time, is what we’ll try to get to," Fraser said. "Not just with me, but with all the player development coaches that are involved with him."
The past few seasons, the Warriors have added older, veteran players to a star-studded roster. Signing Russell, whom the Warriors acquired in a sign-and-trade with the Nets this offseason when Kevin Durant departed for Brooklyn, is a whole different situation.
Russell, 23, is on his third team in five years since being drafted in 2015, and is coming off a career-year where the All-Star averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game.
"It’s exciting. It’s exciting for him, it’s exciting for us. He has a chance to be really, really good. He’s a really good playmaker, he’s a really good passer, along with a scorer," Fraser said. "It’s unfortunate that we don’t have Klay to give him another guy to throw it to, but in the meantime we’ve got to develop our young talent. D’Angelo is a part of that.
"It’s going to be a growth year for us, and D’Angelo is in that category, and we’re excited to have him.”
When it's all said and done, Fraser sees Curry and Russell starring in the same backcourt. Just give it time.