Most of the NBA world was shocked back in June when former number two overall pick from the 2015 draft D'Angelo Russell was traded by the Lakers alongside Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez, a move which freed up the starting point guard spot for rookie Lonzo Ball.
Despite the team he landed on (The Nets finished with a 20-62 record last season), Russell has very high hopes for Brooklyn.
"I want teams to hate us," Russell said Thursday at the Brooklyn Nets Summer Basketball Camp, according to Nets Daily's Anthony Puccio. "We've struggled over the last few years in Brooklyn. Teams are used to coming in and taking nights off. I just want to rebuild that and make it a place where people come and say, 'Alright we got the crowd against us. It’s New York.'"
"I feel like everyone's confident around here. Individually speaking I know I’m coming in with an edge. Allen Crabbe – I know he's coming in with an edge. DeMarre Carroll's coming in with an edge. I feel like we're a confident team and we’re looking forward to doing what we do best,"
The Nets have had a major overhaul of their roster this offseason, trading away franchise center Brook Lopez for Russell, as well as bringing in Crabbe from Portland and Carroll from Toronto, forming a much more competitive core compared to previous years.
Head coach Kenny Atkinson had this to say about the team's age range back in July, via SB Nation's Kristian Winfield:
"You want a certain group that are gonna build together. I don’t think you want all your players in different age groups (while rebuilding). So it's good that we have a young core we can build with."
With a new look roster and their 2018 first-round pick in the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn is looking to surprise everyone next season.