Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell feels pretty confident about his chances of taking home the Most Improved Player award. The 23-year-old Russell is so confident, in fact, that he told Anthony Puccio of SNY he wanted to put his prediction on the record.
Russell was emphatic about his chances, even throwing in an expletive to get the point across.
“I'm gonna win that s—-. Watch. Put it on record. I'm gonna win it."
He later repeated the point, telling Puccio, "I'm telling you, I'm winning it!”
While some might write that off as cockiness, Russell has take some big steps forward this season. Nearly all Russell’s stats are up. He’s averaging new career highs in points, assists, field-goal percentage and three-point percentage. That performance was enough to get him named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career.
Russell credited mental strides as the reason for taking his game to the next level. He said many of the improvements he made were things fans don’t necessarily see. Russell was also sure to add that he knows there are still things he needs to work on, according to SNY.
“I think I've worked on some things and I know I'm not perfect. But I want to be great and a big part of that is the mental aspect. I've always been confident, but this is the most confident I've been in my career."
While Russell feels good about his chances, he’s not the only player who has stepped up their game this season. Russell is expected to be challenged by Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam — who singlehandedly outscored the Houston Rockets in the third quarter Tuesday — for the award. A number of other players could also receive votes.
Russell may not be the favorite to take home the award, but that shouldn’t diminish what he’s been able to accomplish this season. If he feels confident in his play and the stats back it up, he has nothing to be upset when the season is over.
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