D’Angelo Russell is only headed into his 3rd NBA season, and will probably be apart of a below-average team, but D-Lo has every opportunity to become an All-Star this year.
Even though Brooklyn did fall in their season opener to the Pacers 140-131, D’Angelo Russell Nets career is off to a strong start. Russell put up 30 points, and did so shooting 54.5% from the field and 50% from behind the 3-point line. After his explosive opening night, Russell followed it with a couple more strong performances, netting 17 points and 6 assists as well as 16 points and 10 assists in back-to-back Nets wins. D-Lo’s strong start to the year could possibly set the tone for the rest of his season, a tone that (I believe) will lead to Russell becoming an All-Star this year.
1.) Especially with the Jeremy Lin injury, Russell will be counted on to carry the Nets offensively.
If you aren’t already aware, Nets starting guard Jeremy Lin was injured in the season opener, and will miss the rest of the season with a torn patella tendon. Besides Russell, Lin is the only guy even close to being a proven scoring option currently on the Nets roster. The initial plan was for Russell and Lin to operate in the backcourt together as the main scoring threats, but obviously that plan is now out the window. Without Lin, Russell will now have unlimited freedom to do (and shoot) as he pleases when on the court. While that may not lead to the most efficient numbers from Russell, it could very easily lead to him having very good offensive numbers, which could put him in contention to win an All-Star spot this season.
2.) Russell’s numbers could easily be better than those of a few returning Eastern Conference All-Star guards.
While the East retained all of its All-Star guards from the previous season, there are definitely a couple spots Russell could steal from guys this year. Let’s just go ahead and state the obvious: D-Lo won’t be taking Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeDrozan, or John Wall’s place in the All-Star game. Baring anything catastrophic, they are already ASG locks. However, I would not say the same for Kemba Walker and Kyle Lowry. Kemba had a career year last season and averaged 23 points per game, but some think that may be his plateau without being a premier shooter or incredible finisher. Russell already has a one 30-point outing, and may be able to beat out Kemba for that spot. Lowry’s spot is especially open. He did average 22 points last year, but he is now 31 years old, sharing a backcourt with a superstar in DeRozan, and only put up 12 in his season opener. With how much more opportunity Russell will have to put up better numbers, Russell has a great chance to surpass Lowry. Also, 2017 All-Star Isiah Thomas is looking like he will miss a majority of the season, so his spot is already up for the taking, with Russell being a front-runner in that race.
3.) After being pushed out of L.A for the messiah Lonzo Ball, D-Lo feels he has something to prove.
Imagine, at only 20 years old and in your second NBA season on a team going nowhere, leading your team in steals and assists per game, being 2nd in points per game, and still being shipped out for someone who hasn’t played a single NBA minute in Lonzo Ball. There is no way Russell didn’t feel disrespected by the Laker franchise, and he will be looking to prove that they made a mistake by trading him. D-Lo already set the tone for that narrative with his 30-point opening night and solid start to the season, but the icing on the cake would be by playing his way into the 2018 All-Star game while the Lakers still fiddle around with a major rebuild.