As more than one fan noticed on Instagram, D’Angelo Russell thinks a backcourt combination of he and Kyrie Irving would work just fine...
37 minutes ago on Instagram, D’Angelo Russell liked this post. Seems like he’s all-in on “Brooklyn’s Backcourt”— Billy Reinhardt (@BillyReinhardt) June 13, 2019
DLO X KYRIE pic.twitter.com/1m1AyIEviT
He is not alone. Antoine Griezmann, the French soccer superstar and a friend of DLo’s added his endorsement.
Of course, a lot of basketball pundits —Bobby Marks, Zach Lowe and Chris Mannix, among them— think it can’t work, won’t work, but as Anthony Puccio noted last month, the Nets think it can.
And so does Nets announcer Sarah Kustok who spoke with one of the biggest skeptics, Chris Mannix in a podcast Wednesday. Kustok thinks that although many think they’re too similar, she believes Kenny Atkinson can make it work because both are playmakers at their heart.
“Common thought has been how their styles could be deemed similar. We’ve seen… and you look at the backcourt in general and the guards that the Nets do have with Spencer/Caris. Guys who can create. We’ve seen all three on the court at the same time. Kenny Atkinson does some unique things with his combinations. Their unique skill sets. D’Lo is a three point shooter and mid-range, Kyrie has great vision. Kyrie goes to the basket.”
”Any time you can add another playmaker, Kenny can make it work.”
As for whether she thinks Irving would need another superstar before he comes to Brooklyn, Kustok says she doesn’t know...
“I don’t know -- it’s tough to say about what Kyrie is thinking. It is that sense, does he feel like he needs to lead a team, or did he need someone else with him? I don’t know - we’re looking at the same list of teams. I don’t know if it changes Kyrie decision on where he goes. It may change how the season he’s set up for.”
The critique, of course, has to do with their similarities, but at the same time, others have pointed out that the Trail Blazers have done just fine with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCullum.
Kevin Boyle, who coached Irving at the Patrick School in New Jersey and Russell at Montverde Academy in Florida has said he thinks the two could work together, that neither are selfish players, as he told Brian Lewis last month.
“They’d be good together because they both don’t mind the other guy handling the ball. They don’t have to dominate the ball all the time,” Boyle said. “People accuse Kyrie of that, but when he has players with a similar skill set, similar knowledge to make plays, he’s more apt to share. D’Angelo is one of those guys.”
Boyle notes as well that two are friendly.
Of course, the two would have to work with Caris LeVert as well. The Nets wingman needs the ball as well. After LeVert returned from injury last season, DLo and he in fact put up productive numbers, putting up a team-best plus-51 in 102 minutes after March 24.