After Rodions Kurucs matched his career-high with 24 points Monday night in Boston, Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson was critical of his breakout rookie.
As Ian Eagle mentioned on the YES Network broadcast of the game Wednesday, Atkinson pointed out that Kurucs didn’t have any rebounds (he actually had one) or steals and that the Nets need his activity as much as his scoring.
Message received. Kurucs was much more active on the glass and everywhere else, posting a team-best plus-22 rating on the night.
He’s a fast learner and continues to impact games in a good way for the Nets and is in the Rising Stars Challenge conversation as well as looking like a pretty solid All-Rookie pick. Not bad coming from No. 40 overall.
D’Angelo Russell bounced back from a fairly shaky start running the offense to give the Nets the spark they needed in the second quarter to begin their long climb out of a 19-point hole, scoring eight points in the quarter and adding eight more in the third as Brooklyn surged ahead.
Perhaps most importantly for Russell — who has been a Big Pendulum sort of player in his four-year career; stretches of outstanding play immediately followed by stretches of not-so-much-with-the-outstanding play — was that he stopped the slide at one game after a poor night at Boston Monday.
He’s made great strides this season and if he’s beginning to learn how to bounce back from bad nights with good ones, that’s a major development in his career path.