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."

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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."

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