D’Angelo Russell had his strongest overall performance of the preseason Friday night, running the offensive confidently and taking care of the basketball.
After committing seven turnovers in Montreal against the Toronto Raptors, Russell had just one Friday night while dishing out eight assists — a terrific ratio — and found time to score 18 points with a nice combination of penetration moves and perimeter shooting.
The most encouraging aspect of Russell’s performance was that he was very vocal with his teammates, calling out sets, keeping everyone on the same page and taking charge when he was on the floor.
That sort of leadership role is something teammates — notably Jared Dudley — and coaches had been challenging DLo to embrace and on Friday he really seemed for the first time this preseason to be in that full floor-leader mode.
Add that his defensive effort has been mostly solid this season — an area of concern for Russell in the past — and it’s beginning to look like Russell may have that breakout campaign that many have predicted for him.
Joe Harris got off to a slow start with his shot, missing his first five attempts from long range, before settling down by knocking down his last two.
Overall, he was solid, driving the ball when the openings were there, keeping the basketball moving and playing aggressively at the defensive end.
The Nets continue to flow better on both ends when Harris is on the floor, as evidenced by his team-best +12 rating on Friday. He’s still more valuable as a sniper on the second unit, but Brooklyn won’t be missing a beat should Harris be pressed into service as a starter.