Nets convinced D’Angelo Russell wants to be great
The Brooklyn Nets traded for point guard D’Angelo Russell for a reason, and despite his indifferent time at the franchise so far, head coach Kenny Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks still believe in his ability to lead the franchise.
Talking to ESPN Radio, Atkinson sang Russell’s praises (via the New York Post).
“He’s a talented guy. He’s got great court vision, incredible hand-eye coordination, really understands the game,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.
“He wants to be great. He’s been in our gym all summer. In the NBA, it’s not an obligation. You’ve got to want to be there. So he’s been there. He’s been really working on his body. He’s got to make strides there. He’s got to get stronger. He worked on his explosiveness. But he’s proven it to me by being there every day the offseason.”
It’s obvious both men wholeheartedly believe Russell can be a truly great player in the NBA. To be fair to them, Russell has shown glimpses of genius with his passing and court vision, and displayed he can definitely excel in this era of NBA basketball with his outside shooting.
Russell has struggled to stay healthy since his move last summer, as he featured in only 48 games last campaign due to a left knee injury. The Nets sorely missed his production, as they stumbled to yet another losing season.
For his career, Russell is good for 14.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. His numbers aren’t jaw-dropping just yet, but with his high basketball IQ and cerebral playing style, his numbers sometimes don’t tell the full story when looking at his promise and upside.
Russell definitely has the tools to be a special guard in the NBA, but it’s up to him to work hard and maximize his potential.
With Russell back, as well as the additions of Kenneth Faried and Ed Davis, the Nets are looking to make a playoff push and reach the postseason for the first time since 2014.