Lakers Debate: Better Young Backcourt, Lakers or Minnesota Timberwolves?

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Point Guard: D’Angelo Russell Vs. Kris Dunn

The Lakers and Timberwolves possess a pair of the league’s most enticing young point guards in D’Angelo Russell and Kris Dunn. The style of each player, however, stands in stark contrast to one another.

Dunn is a hyper-athletic guard in the mold of John Wall, whose most NBA ready attribute is his tenacious defense. He’s a good finisher and passer, but his jump shot could use some work.

Russell, on the other hand, is a player who relies much more heavily on skill than he does athleticism. While he showed some promising explosiveness during Summer League, Russell’s game is built on his sweet shooting and elite vision. While Russell isn’t known as a stopper on defense, his length has allowed him to show potential on that end as a rookie.

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Russell, with his wide range of floaters, jumpers, and post moves, is definitely the more versatile scorer at this point. Although he has struggled at times to consistently make plays for his teammates, Russell’s passing skill is also a slight advantage over the more seasoned Dunn, who struggled with turning the ball over throughout his college career.

That being said, Dunn has clear advantages in both athletic ability and defense. He is the more explosive player, with elite straight line speed and quickness. Kris Dunn also projects as an extremely high level defender at the NBA level, evidenced by the two and a half steals he averaged as a senior at Providence College.

While the two players are at a similar level based on current ability, there is one other differentiating factor in play. While Dunn will enter his rookie season the same year Russell has his sophomore campaign, Dunn is still a full two years older than the Lakers’ floor general.

This means that Dunn, as a rookie, is three years older than Russell was when he was drafted. While age is not the most important factor in comparing players, the extra room for growth Russell’s age affords him is enough to put the Lakers over the top at this position.

Winner: Lakers

Next: Jordan Clarkson vs. Zach LaVine