D’Angelo Russell takes swipe at former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson
D’Angelo Russell came into his own as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, but he is not giving the coach who oversaw it too much credit.
As part of a feature this week by Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, Russell, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves, took a swipe at ex-Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, who was in charge for both of his seasons in Brooklyn.
“I’m not going to give it to Kenny,” said the 24-year-old Russell. “I still don’t think he knew what he had, honestly. I don’t think he knew what I was capable of in the fourth quarter.”
Krawczynski notes that Atkinson kept Russell on the bench early in his tenure with the Nets and that Russell feels Atkinson only went to him as a last resort when backcourt teammates Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris Levert were injured.
Regardless, Russell, who was traded to Brooklyn by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, enjoyed productive years there, especially in 2018-19. That season, he made 81 starts for the Nets, averaging 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game en route to his first career All-Star selection.
As for Atkinson, who was just fired by the Nets in March, there were some signs that he was not particularly well-liked by the team’s stars. Russell’s comments here may add further fuel to that theory.