Brooklyn Nets
(Mary Altaffer / AP Photo)

D’Angelo Russell was labeled a bust after two years, but the Brooklyn Nets point guard continues to prove his doubters wrong.

D’Angelo Russell is exacting revenge against everyone who cast him off after his first two seasons in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers traded Russell as a sweetener in a salary cap dump. The Brooklyn Nets are now reaping the benefits of that deal.

Russell is no joke this season. The fourth-year point guard elevated his play in January and February, leading to his first All-Star appearance.

But since the All-Star Game, Russell has raised his game to new heights. Over his last six games, he’s averaging 29.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 10.2 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. As a result, the Nets have scratched and clawed their way to three necessary victories.

Russell isn’t surprising anyone with his play at this point. He’s an absolute stud and if the Nets hope to have any chance at making the playoffs, he’ll need to continue playing like a superstar.

Playoff Push

Brooklyn is in the midst of a competitive race for the last few playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Nets have little margin for error in their final five games of the year. As a result, they’ll need Russell to be at his absolute best.

Although the Nets face five teams currently in the playoffs to finish the season, their schedule could be a major benefit down the stretch. Brooklyn plays the battered and bruised Milwaukee Bucks twice. Milwaukee has a firm grip on the top seed in the conference and could rest Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Furthermore, the Nets host the Miami Heat in the final game of their season. A “play-in” game between Brooklyn and Miami remains a distinct possibility.

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