D'Angelo Russell excited to lead young Warriors roster through rocky season

Logan Murdock

MINNEAPOLIS -- After missing the past three games with an injured ankle, Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell says he's ready to help navigate a battered roster to success.  

"Lead these guys best I can," Russell said following shootaround Friday afternoon. "Vocally, by example, in any way I can." 

Russell -- who sprained his ankle Oct. 30 against the Suns -- rejoins a much different group than the one he first joined earlier this season. In the last 10 days, five players have missed games due to injury, including star guards Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, who will both be re-evaluated in February. Additionally, Draymond Green didn't travel with the team on the current road trip to treat a torn ligament in his right index finger. Of the nine active players in Wednesday night's loss to the Rockets, just seven were on guaranteed contracts.  

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"It's part of the game," Russell said. "You obviously don't want to see anybody go down or have anything like that but it's part of the game. It forces guys to step up and take advantage of the opportunity." 

Still, the young group has shown some promise. On Saturday, Golden State held the Charlotte Hornets -- one of the league's best three-point shooting teams -- to just 17 percent from beyond the arc, and took a brief lead with just over a minute left in regulation. Two nights later, the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers, limiting guard CJ McCollum to just 37 percent from the field, leaving Russell impressed.

"Those dudes were battling," Russell said. "You give a lot of credit to those guys. A lot has been thrown at them the last few weeks. For them to go out there and battle and compete and give themselves a chance to win at the end of the game. You can't be nothing but proud." 

"You're playing against teams where guys have a lot of reputation in the league and they're going to dominate the game just by reputation alone," Russell added. "We've got a bunch of guys that don't have any reputation. the refs probably don't know any of our guy's names so for guys to go out there and compete, make a name for themselves against other guys, it's all you want."

[RELATED: Why Steph is not comfortable running tons of pick-and-roll]

Russell -- who signed a four-year, $117 million deal in June following a trade with Brooklyn -- has struggled during the start of the season. Though he's averaging 19 points per game, he's shooting just 38 percent from the field. 

D'Angelo Russell excited to lead young Warriors roster through rocky season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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