Nets' D'Angelo Russell a finalist for award he brashly said he'd win

After Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell boldly stated he would win the NBA Most Improved Player Award, he was named one of the three finalists on Friday.

The 23-year-old will have to contend with Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, the NBA said in announcing finalists for six awards.

Russell earned his first All-Star berth in a breakout campaign that saw him lead the Nets to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, their first playoff bid since 2015.

Nets GM Sean Marks opted not to give Russell an extension before this season started, with the guard coming off an up-and-down campaign and arthroscopic knee surgery.

But he bounced back to miss just a single game, pouring in 21.1 points, 7.0 assists, 3.9 boards and a career-high 234 3-pointers headed into restricted free agency.

The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George of the Thunder and the Rockets’ James Harden were named finalists for the NBA MVP award.

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