June 27th 2017
With the second pick in the 2017 NBA draft the Los Angeles Lakers selected UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. A move that was expected for quite some time, however, before the pick was made there was a proposed trade between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers that would send the Nets’ beloved center Brook Lopez to LA in exchange for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mosgov.
The Lakers decided to part ways with Russell after his second season with the team. The president of basketball operations Magic Johnson gave his reasons to why the move was made. This is not about that however; it’s a new day for the Brooklyn Nets and a new day for D’Angelo Russell.
There is no mistaking that Russell has talent to become a great player in the league and with the nurturing atmosphere and youth movement in Brooklyn this may be a very good place for D’Angelo to hone his skills and develop his abilities. Coach Kenny Atkinson is a great motivator and this will be an opportunity for both he and Russell to gel as coach and player. With Jeremy Lin running the point coach Atkinson would probably have D’Angleo at the shooting guard position but we could expect him to mix up the line-ups as he evaluates the team.
Russell is ready to move on, he showed some maturity by not getting too involved with responding to Magic’s comments. He kept his statement short, brief and focused on how he can help the Nets and what he can learn as a player with this franchise.
“Its the past, I’m here now, its irrelevant.”
The Nets are without question in a rebuilding mode, long gone are the days of Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and long gone were the hopes of a title run with that squad. Brook was the last remaining player of that sports illustrated cover that featured the Nets big gamble. Who wants a piece of them indeed, as all the players and even the coach in the picture have moved on to different ball clubs or retirement.
The Nets also got Timofey Mozgov, a center that brings championship experience, defensive awareness and veteran leadership to the young Brooklyn squad. Mozgov played well during the 2015 NBA finals with the Cavaliers and showed some of his versatility as a big man. He did (jokingly) mention that he would practice threes and half court shots if Kenny (Atkinson) wants him to. He just wants to play his role for the Nets and help in anyway he can. Mozgov played under coach Atkinson while he was with the New York Knicks and knows his work ethic so it should not be a difficult transition for the big man.
We can see the consistency and emphasis on player development within the Nets organization. At the introductory press conference, on a Monday morning, June 26th , young players could be seen practicing at the HSS facility. Caris LeVert, Isaiah Whitehead, Quincy Acy and Archie Goodwin were present and getting some offseason workouts in.
This is a new and exciting beginning for the Brooklyn Nets franchise.
Thank You for reading
Sherman Gomez is a Staff Writer for PureSportsNY
Follow me on Twitter at sherman@shermangmz1
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