It’s been two games after a few months of workouts, scrimmages, practices, and off-the-court bonding, but to this point, Brooklyn Nets’ head coach Kenny Atkinson loves the pairing of Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell.
“They’re starting to figure it out and they’re understanding when to be on the ball, when to be off the ball. I think they’re two guys who want to win and they’re starting to figure out that they’re going to have to share,” said Atkinson.
For months, the media, us included, have written think piece after think piece zeroing in, analyzing, breaking down, and picking apart the elements of a potentially dynamic Brooklyn backcourt.
It’s October 6. It’s too early to know for sure. But so far, Atkinson couldn’t sound more pleased, while knowing that there’s still room for improvement.
“What I love is the communication,” Atkinson says of Lin and Russell, who have combined for 42 points and 13 assists in limited minutes in two preseason outings. “I watch them on the floor and it’s almost like a quarterback and a running back. They’re constantly talking like ‘hey, what are we doing? What are we running?’”
Against the Miami Heat Thursday night, Lin led the charge with 16 points and five assists, shooting an efficient 5-of-7 from the floor and made 2-of-3 attempts from deep, all in 24 minutes of play.
Russell, who logged 25 minutes, posted a calm nine points on only 4-of-14 shooting just two nights after lighting up the Knicks for 19 points and four assists in 21 minutes in his Brooklyn debut.
Both nights, Atkinson did a lot of mixing-and-matching, but one thing seems certain: the two will not be on the court together for that long. But one of them will be on the court and that one will control the ball.
“I think you’ll see it during the season,” Atkinson said Tuesday when asked about switching off Russell and Lin at the point. “I’d like to have one of those guys at the point the whole game. That would be pretty nice. And it’s nice that we got Spencer Dinwiddie too because we can do that or even play three guards together. I think Spencer has taken another step up in his development.”
“I’m not gonna say that’s definitely how it’s gonna play out, but in my mind, keeping D’Angelo or Jeremy at the point pretty much the whole game.”
And so far, it’s working.
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