Brooklyn Nets veteran small forward DeMarre Carroll thought point guard D’Angelo Russell was a “knucklehead” before he got to know him.
The Nets acquired Russell in the summer of 2017 from the Los Angeles Lakers. At the time, Russell had a bad reputation in the league because of what happened between him and Nick Young.
Carroll, though, says once he spent time with Russell, he knew the kid had a good heart and was serious about the game of basketball.
“Before I thought he was just like a knucklehead,” Carroll said, via Ian Begley of ESPN. “Now, he’s right next to me all the time [in the locker room]. He’s got a good heart. All these things people said about him, they really don’t know him on a personal level.
“Sometimes you can do things and they can blow up in a bigger light than what you expected. I think some of the things he regrets. But I think at the end of the day, him coming to New York, a different scenery, having good vets around, a good group around him, now he understands where he stands in the game of basketball.”
Russell made the All-Star team this season and led the Nets to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. It looks like a change of scenery was the best thing for Russell, who is only 23-years-old.
In 81 regular season games in 2018-19, Russell put up 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists. Russell set a franchise record for 3-pointers made (227) and became the youngest Nets player to reach the All-Star Game since Buck Williams in 1981.