1. Russell’s quietly efficient night
D’Angelo Russell has reached the point where his quiet nights end up with lines such as he put up against the San Antonio Spurs Monday night.
The Brooklyn Nets’ All-Star scored 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting, going 5-for-11 from 3-point range, and adding eight assists and seven rebounds as his breakout season rolls along.
The five 3-pointers were significant, as Russell set a new franchise record with his 14th game this season with at least five 3s, breaking the old mark of 13 games set by Allen Crabbe last season.
And he was shooting them from everywhere, including this one that may have popped up on the radar screens in the air-traffic control center at LaGuardia.
The season of DLo rolls on, with the fourth-year guard now averaging 20.5 points, 6.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 30.2 minutes per game, shooting 43.5 percent overall and 37.2 percent from deep.
He also made a big play at the defensive end, getting a little bit of revenge on San Antonio guard Derrick White, who had just blocked a Russell shot at the other end on the previous possession.
There are still some analysts out there that knock Russell for his lack of efficiency as a shooter, while failing to account for the fact that some guys are shooters and some players are simply scorers.
Russell is a scorer. He will get hot and carry a team for long stretches in games and at other times he will go full super nova, such as he did Saturday night in the road win over the Charlotte Hornets when he scored Brooklyn’s last 12 points and put up 14 in the final 3:24 of the game.
And his efficiency is improving. His shooting percentages — both conventional and the deeper analytics views — are all at career-high levels. Russell is at 43.5 percent overall, 37.2 percent from long range and 82.5 percent at the foul line.
His advanced shooting statistics include an effective field goal percentage of 51.2 percent and a true shooting percentage of 53.5.
That improvement has come in spite of a career-high usage rate of 29.9 percent and comes in a season where his assists per game, assist percentage (37.7), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.27) and assist ratio (23.8) are all at the highest levels of his career.
In short, the restricted-free-agent-to-be is about to get seriously paid this summer. Given his fondness for the Brooklyn organization and their investment in him, it’s a decent bet that big new contract offer will come from the Nets.