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D'angelo Russell was thrust from center piece of a Lakers rebuild to a rebirth in Brooklyn. Russell's first year as a Net wasn't what Brooklyn fans were probably hoping for, but the future is still bright. Let's take a look at the goods, bad's, and ugly.
Russell was seemingly discarded by LA and especially Magic Johnson who blindsided Russell we some serious criticism. In Brooklyn D'angelo was given a clean sheet, free or any Magic Johnson nonsense and away from drama filled teammates. Despite not having a statistically strong season, Russell has fully embraced being a Net and bought into what was being built in Brooklyn. The future is looking bright for the once forgotten top pick who has been able to show off his silky smooth handles and scoring game. The best part of his season is easily his hunger to improve.
I want to be that point guard or better yet, lead guard when I have the ball in my hands. I want to develop that trust with the coaches and the players around met that I’m going to make the right play when the ball is in my hands, especially at the end of games. I want to show that I can finish it out
I did my best to watch every Nets game where Russell was playing and there were plenty of times where I was screaming at my television because of him. Yes he is still very young, as is the team, but there were some very worrying if not annoying signs from him this season. Russell had a habit of not trusting his teammates and trying to do way too much by himself. This desire to do it all of course either led to horrible offensive plays or turnovers. It's worth noting he had a career high in turnovers this year at 3.1 turnovers per game. The worst part of D'angelo Russell's game this year was his ability to become an offensive blackhole. Whether it was through his useless and contested three point attempts, his inability to finish at the rim, or his passiveness. Let's ignore his defensive play, which was okay at best.
Russell spent a solid chunk of this season injured on the bench. His injury completely derailed his development as well as the Nets season. When he finally returned his minutes were all over the place as was his overall game. Kenny Atkinson also moved Russell over to the 2 guard, which worked sometimes and other times it turned into me yelling at both Russell and Kenny through my television. Going forward, Russell's position needs to be as well defined as his tattoos are.
There's no easy way to put it, the entire weight of Brooklyn's future is on D'angelo Russell's shoulders. Russell is still the man in Brooklyn, that's the whole reason why the Nets traded for him. Hopefully he stays healthy this coming season as it's not only a big one for the organization, it's also a big one for him as his rookie contract is due to end.