D’Angelo Russell is embracing the New York City game

D'Angelo Russell YES Interview
Sarah Kustok Interviews D’Angelo Russell, via NBA.com/Nets

D’Angelo Russell was the biggest offseason acquisition by the Brooklyn Nets. While the Nets traded away the beloved Brook Lopez, the addition of Russell, a polarizing, but talented playmaker, was a solid consolation prize. Russell just might be the highest upside young prospect that switched teams this offseason in franchise player deals. (To note, the Pacers acquired Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for Paul George. The Bulls received Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen for Jimmy Butler. The Clippers received Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell and other young spare parts for Chris Paul.)

D’Angelo Russell has been seen in and around New York City since he was traded to the Nets in June. There have been late night workout videos…




Appearances at his future home court with a few younger teammates…




And workouts with two teammates that had to scratch and claw their way into the NBA to make an impact…




D’Angelo Russell (and Friends) Take Dyckman

The hype around Russell, might have reached a boiling point this week. (For now.) Russell, along with Nets teammates Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Isaiah Whitehead, took the court at the famed Dyckman Park Basketball Tournament in Inwood. In previous years, Kevin Durant, Markelle Fultz, Kemba Walker Mar$wag Brooks and more all played at Dyckman.

But this year, it was time for one of the newest Nets to shine alongside his teammates. You’ve probably seen the videos by now…

D’Angelo Russell may be from Louisville, but he looked comfortable in the NYC summer heat on the blacktop (it was actually a greentop, but that just doesn’t sound right.) His handle was mesmerizing. The smoothness of his game was apparent, finessing past or over defenders. Here’s an icy game winner by DLoading to seal the game.


Let’s look at it again… (yes, it’s the same video)

Did you catch that? And one more time for posterity, from a different angle…


Are you excited yet? Russell still has ice in his veins, apparently. The raw emotion of the crowd after the big shot seemed electric.

Big sports outlets like Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, NBA on TNT and The Brooklyn Game (naturally) shared footage of the game winner.

Here are full highlights of the Summer game…


Isaiah Whitehead also looked impressive in clips from the outing, at one point diving on the floor for a loose ball. (Don’t get hurt out there!) Whitehead’s Coney Island roots shined through during the contest, showing slick moves at the rim and powerful drives. Hollis-Jefferson had a nice dunk as well – but in pick-up style games, guards seem to dominate. Also, note the Brooklyn Nets logo in the Dyckman banner in the background.

Hope Springs in Summer

Are Nets fans overreacting to a Summer (essentially pickup) game winner? Maybe. But what D’Angelo Russell signifies for the Nets is hope. His tandem with Jeremy Lin as a new backcourt duo has been scrutinized, hyped and analyzed – but the success of the two may be Brooklyn’s biggest chance at making a surprising playoff push. The young core of LeVert, Hollis-Jefferson, Whitehead, Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen seems to have a cornerstone in Russell, who has already shown value as an NBA player. Culture and core are two key words for the developing Nets.

As a reminder, Russell’s final made basket as a Los Angeles Laker was a game winner against the Minnesota Timberwolves in honor of his grandmother, who had passed away earlier that day.


In a podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski, Russell indicated his excitement to turn over a new leaf in Brooklyn. Woj also noted that Russell was a player the Nets had been targeting for months. The acquisition of Russell was not a spur of the moment type deal. It was a calculated, researched gamble by Sean Marks. That gamble could pay dividends.

Yes, D’Angelo Russell may not have been the most efficient player on a lottery team like the Lakers. But his vision as a playmaker and on-court swagger fit right in with the New York City game. Kenny Atkinson, Sean Marks and the entire Brooklyn Nets influence sphere is hoping that Russell can live up to his potential and blossom into a franchise player. While we are still months away from Russell making his debut in Broklyn black and white, we’ll always have his game winner. Having hope is great, isn’t it?