Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell
(AP Photo/Chris Nicoll)

D’Angelo Russell is brimming with confidence and he has his sights set on winning the Most Improved Player this year.

D’Angelo Russell’s rise to stardom has been a catalyst for the Brooklyn Nets’ surprising success. After securing the first All-Star selection of his career, he is adamant about winning the Most Improved Player award this year.

“I’m gonna win that s–t. Watch. Put it on record. I’m gonna win it,” Russell told Anthony Puccio of SNY.

This quote showcases Russell’s growing confidence. The fourth-year point guard is putting up career numbers in points (20.5), assists (6.8), and three-point percentage (.366). His statistical and individual success has been the biggest reason why the Nets are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

Russell has a phenomenal case for Most Improved Player this season, but he’s facing some stiff competition. Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors appears to be the frontrunner right now. But Josh Richardson of the Miami Heat and Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings have strong cases as well.

This is the second-straight season the Nets have a legitimate candidate for this award. Spencer Dinwiddie finished third in voting last year behind Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets and Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers who took home the award behind 99 first-place votes out of a possible 100.

The voting is likely to be much closer this year, but Russell should be right in the thick of things. Russell and Dinwiddie’s recent Most Improved Player campaigns are further evidence of Brooklyn’s player development success.

That’s a testament to the work of general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson. The two have been spearheading a complete overhaul in Brooklyn and it’s abundantly clear that they have succeeded in changing the culture.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.