Today’s Brooklyn Nets news features head coach Kenny Atkinson and General Manager Sean Marks talking Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell.
The anticipation for the Nets 2017-2018 season lies behind their new backcourt, featuring Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell.
Naturally point guards, fans are wondering if they can play alongside each other as the starting one and two.
Head coach Kenny Atkinson has no doubt that young Russell is up to the task, as he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post:
“D’Angelo knows the expectations. He has a chip on his shoulder. He knows that, defensively, he’s got to get better. But he’s got to get better at a lot of things with his all-around game.”
Though some are worried about Russell’s maturity and Lin’s health, Atkinson says the Nets coaching staff are more than confident.
“They’re two good guys that’re good players. I really believe we can make it work, they’re both going to play. There’s 48 minutes out there.”
Fortunately for Russell, he’s going to be given a chance to be the thing Lakers’ President Magic Johnson says he’s not. A leader, which General Manager Sean Marks says they’ll need to see from both their starting guards.
“The leadership, that’s in his court, we can certainly help him get there. In the position that he plays, you’ve got to be a leader to some extent. Kenny [Atkinson] is going to rely on that position — Jeremy or D’Angelo — a lot, both of them to direct traffic out there and so forth.”
Atkinson even went as far as to say that having this point guard hybrid backcourt will give the Nets an advantage.
“They’ve both played (shooting guard), and they both can guard the position, so it fits what we’re doing. People say it’s a pick-and-roll league, so to have another guy you can rely on to play pick-and-roll and figure out where you can find that advantage with two guys that are excellent at it, it gives us a big advantage.”
Last season, Jeremy Lin averaged 14.5 points and 5.1 assists, whereas Russell posted 15.6 points and 4.8 assists. Nets and NBA fans alike will be waiting to see just how compatible these two guards can play, sharing the backcourt.
The Brooklyn Nets will open their 2017-2018 season at home on Wednesday, October 15th against the Philadelphia 76ers.