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Walker Russell Jr. - D-League Player Profiles

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Walker Russell Jr
Walker Russell Jr

Like how Jon L and I pulled the ol' switcheroo on you?  I thought you would.  We needed to put some spice back up in here.  Plus, I simply ran out of ideas until the lottery Tuesday, so I figured I'd let everyone boo Jon L when he posts bullets for awhile.  Plus, I love posting random links rather than just the bullets, so I figured this would be much more fun for me.

Anyway, now on to the scheduled programming.  Walker Russell, Jr., is a 6'0, 170 pound pure point. He's a little slight, yes, but how many pure points with good size are bouncing around out there, just waiting to be picked up?  That's what I thought.

How he got here

Presumably, he got here because his dad was an NBA player that now works in front offices (currently scouting for the Knicks) and his uncle is Campy Russell.  I'll take you back a bit, though, just for good measure.

Rusell Jr. started his career at Chipola Junior College.  Chipolte?  No.  Chip-o-la.  It's located in Marianna, Florida.  Yep, the same college that Auburn legend Chris Porter began at.  It's a basketball powerhouse, judging by it's famous alum's (just these two, according to WIkipedia.)  Regardless, they weren't able to employ statisticians, leaving us without any numbers for Russell until he arrived at Jacksonville State, to become a Gamecock.

At Jacksonville State, he didn't put up great numbers over three seasons (13.7 points, 6.9 assists, 1.9 steals, shooting 44% from the field), but he did play well enough to become a sort of legend at JSU.  Russell is the school's all-time leading scorer, assist(er?) and hold the schools all-time leading free-throw % (84.2, for inquiring minds).  He was also named All-Ohio Valley Conference all three seasons, which isn't something to scoff at!

Coming out of college, he was picked up by the Knicks and impressed the one and only Gus Johnson at Summer League, as he gushed over him on the MSG Network's blog:

He's actually a better point guard right now than Nate Robinson in terms of being a pure point guard. I would say he's a better point guard than Robinson and Mardy Collins right now, because he knows how to move the ball, and knows how to get the ball to his teammates in their best spots on the floor. He can score, he's quick enough to get by people, and his jump shot isn't bad either. He's played with heart and passion

Has Gus ever said anything bad about something though?  Anyway, after the jump, I'll look at his D-League career, which started three seasons ago in Forth Worth, Texas.

Russell's first D-League season didn't go so hot.  For reasons unknown, Russell only played in 15 games with the Fort Worth Flyers his rookie season, averaging a paltry 15 minutes, shooting 34.7% from the field while averaging 5.6 points and 3.6 boards.  Wait, the sub-35% from the field may have led to him getting limited minutes.

Nonetheless, his rookie season led to him being picked up by the Pistons Summer League team.  This apparently didn't work out so well for him however, as he ended up playing in the D-League the following season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, who selected him in the NINTH round of the expansion draft.  With the Mad Ants, he played in 17 games before heading overseas, averaging 14.5 points and 4.8 assists, shooting 42% from the field with the Ants.

This brings us to this season, which is when Russell finally put his potential as a pure point to good use.  With the Ants this season, he was a stud, leading the league the entire season in assists, finishing with 10.8, along with 16 points per game on a team that didn't feature many offensive sets, save for iso and pick-and-roll.  Nonetheless, his FG% struggled still, shooting 42% including a dismal 30-for-100 from beyond the arc.

Russell was able to put back-to-back triple-double's up in March, but neither of those games were archived (for reasons unknown).  Watching some of the archived games, though, I was impressed with a 20 point, 14 assist, eight board, six steal game against the Colorado 14ers, when he was matched-up against Eddie Gill, who was called up just a few days later.

Overall Outlook

If you're looking for a pure point guard that sees the court well, Walker Russell is your man.  If you're looking for an undersized point guard who pushes the offense and plays the passing lanes well, Russell is still your man.  However, if you'd like him to be able to shoot, Russell isn't your man.

Regardless, it's still likely he'll get a look this summer, and if Gus Johnson is announcing his games (and is still impressed), don't be surprised to see him get at least a 10-day next season.