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DeMarre Carroll and D’Angelo Russell discussed ‘growing pains’ and ‘overthinking’

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Following an eight-turnover game in an eight-point loss to Denver, DeMarre Carroll sat down with D’Angelo Russell to talk things out. The veteran leader thinks Russell is overthinking his game.

“We actually had a long conversation in my room,” Carroll told beat writers. “At the end of the day he’s just trying to feel his way in, coming from the Lakers where it was all open, one-on-one. He’s trying to fit his way in, know when to attack, when to make the play.”

It’s all part of the growing pains. Russell isn’t going to be perfect the way everybody expects. Carroll explains how he went through something similar with Jeff Teague in Atlanta.

“So right now he may be overthinking it a bit. But it’s the same thing when I was in Atlanta with Jeff Teague doing the same thing. I told him go look at film of Teague and see how he adapted to it; because at the end of the game we’re going to need him, his scoring. It’s growing pains. He’ll learn. He’ll definitely be better.”

He’s averaging close to four turnovers per game. Carroll thinks it’s a result of that overthinking. After all, he is only 21-years-old with a new coach… in a new system ... forced to take on a leadership role with the loss of Jeremy Lin.

It isn’t worth stressing too much, but as we’ve written before: is Russell a point guard in this offense?

It’s a learning process for DLo, but this remains something the coaching staff is going to monitor as the season goes on. His style of play is best in the pick-and-roll and isolation sets. Of course, it might just be adjusting to new teammates and the high pace.

Kenny Atkinson and the Nets aren’t worried. They see it as a teaching opportunity.

“I want him to get better. He’s like the quarterback that throws two interceptions. Those are tough to overcome,” Atkinson said. “And we talked about it at halftime, so I brought him out, talked about it, and said ‘Improve.’ So we’ve just got to help him.”

Russell committed his sixth turnover less than a minute into the second half. Atkinson took him out of the game for 20 seconds, so he could sit down and discuss what he did wrong. Atkinson did the same thing vs. the Suns.

Russell checked back in as the Nets trailed by 14. He scored five more points in the following six minutes and committed his seventh and eighth turnovers as Brooklyn went down 17. His night was over after just 21 minutes of action.

“Man, no excuse. I’ve just got to be better,” Russell said after the game. “I’ve just got to be better, more focused. I think it was really on us, just being real nonchalant, starting with me being careless with the ball and just not valuing it.”

At least he’s taking responsibility.