By Brian Lewis October 5, 2017 | 10:28pm
Coach Kenny Atkinson insists he has been pleased with their synergy throughout camp, but they clearly have another level to get to. What has been his message?
“Just being aggressive, playing off one another, knowing when to create and knowing when to get a bucket,” Russell told The Post. “Coach is putting us in the position to do that and run the offense at the same time, so on the court together knowing that and when we’re not on the court knowing our personnel and who we’re next to and what we have to do to get them the ball.
“[He wants us] both being aggressive in playmaking and getting guys going. We’ve got a lot of guys that can shoot the ball, so getting them the ball, good passes on time that’s what’s going to get us over the hump, getting those guys the ball, knowing when to get them the ball and knowing when to get your own.”
Lin and Russell may both be lead guards, but they’re very different players. Lin is direct and aggressive, assaulting the defense and the rim. Russell uses craft and guile to search and probe for a weakness.
Both said they’re looking to round out their games.
“I just wanted to really become more shifty,” Lin told The Post. “I’ve always known I had a quick burst of speed; I’ve always been able to somewhat change it up here and there as I’ve gotten older . But I really wanted to add more shiftiness, a lot of what Isaiah Thomas and
Kyrie [Irving] and Steph [Curry] have.
“Just craftiness and shiftiness, very subtle stuff, footwork, dropping the shoulder a little bit more on crossovers. Stuff like that is kind of what I worked on; and then also making better reads to the weak side in the pick-and-roll . I’ve been trying to just get my decision making to be even cleaner. And then mid-range stuff.”
Atkinson respects their differences, and will use them to the Nets’ advantage. But he also would love to see Russell improve his shot selection (“It’s been addressed,” he said) and attack the rim more.
“Yes, I do want him to be more of an attacker. That being said, he’s a cerebral player: He’s a prober. We saw the other night he can really pass the ball. It’s just a different pick-and-roll style, ” Atkinson said. “Jeremy is your tailback you’re pitching it to, and he’s going all-out downhill.
“D’Angelo is a prober. He waits for the defense to make a mistake.
That being said, I’d love to see him attack those bigs — especially when teams are in that retreat defense or softer defense — because what happens is that, if you get downhill you get to the free-throw line. … It translates to good things, sucks the defense in, [produces] free throws. So we’re definitely going to push him more to attack.”