From the moment D’Angelo Russell joined the Nets in the Brook Lopez trade in June, the focus has been on how the chemistry would work between he and Jeremy Lin. If the preseason opener is any indication, Russell and Lin might form a point guard platoon.
Both started the Nets’ 115-107 win over the Knicks Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden but were on the floor together for just the first 4:25 of the opening half and the first 5:14 of the third quarter. They alternated the rest of the time before both sat down for the final 18 minutes
Coach Kenny Atkinson said Nets fans can expect to see more of the same. “I’d like to have one of those guys at the point the whole game,” Atkinson said.
“That would be pretty nice, wouldn’t it? We’ve got Spencer Dinwiddie, too. We could even play three guards together. I think Spencer has really taken another step up in his development.
“I’m not going to say definitely that’s how it’s going to play out, but that’s definitely on my mind to keep D’Angelo or Jeremy at the point pretty much the whole game.”
Russell wasted no time putting his stamp on the new-look Nets, led them with 19 points on 7-for-14 shooting. The Nets had six others score in double figures, including Sean Kilpatrick (15), Joe Harris (13), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (13), Quincy Acy (12), Dinwiddie (12) and DeMarre Carroll (10). The Nets shot 50 percent from three-point range (16 of 32).
Russell scored his points in a mere 16:44 and had a team-high four assists. Asked about rotating with Lin, he said, “If we’re on the floor together, we make things happen. But if one of us isn’t on the floor, guys are capable of stepping up. I think it will be a balance throughout the year, figuring out what we need to bring to the table when that happens.”
Lin, who had eight points and 2-for-9 shooting, said he was just guessing but thought he and Russell might start and finish each half together and rotate in between. He downplayed the notion a rotation might require significant adjustment.
“For me, I’m pretty comfortable in either position,” Lin said. “I’m not a pure two by any means. Definitely, more pure one. But I think I will have plenty of opportunities to play into that, and then, I can slide off the ball at times. And I think the same for [Russell]. I think he’s a pure one, as well, but he can play two.”