The Brooklyn Nets acquired D'Angelo Russell from the Los Angeles Lakers last summer with hopes that they could unlock his true potential.
But his first year in New York didn't quite go according to plan as he struggled to stay on the court.
After a promising start, he missed 34 games and found it tough to get into any sort of rhythm or consistency when he returned towards the end of the season.
Entering his biggest season
Russell is now preparing to enter his fourth campaign in the league and it could certainly be his most important as he'll be a restricted free agent by the end of it.
He is eligible to sign a rookie extension in October but the Nets are unlikely to offer it to him as he's still yet to prove himself.
But the 22-year-old is determined to take that next step and earn himself a big contract by having his most productive season.
He says he's motivated by the huge five-year, $158 million deal that his best friend Devin Booker just signed with the Phoenix Suns.
"I'm in the greatest place ever, honestly," Russell told The Athletic's Michael Scotto. "Like you said, motivation.
"I see my best friend sign a max deal. I know where we came from, so that's plenty motivation that I need.
"I wake up every morning and go to train, and I feel like I'm in the best shape. I don't know. The sky is the limit."
The 2015 number two overall pick averaged 15.5 points and a career-high 5.2 assists in 48 games for Brooklyn last year and there's no doubt that he can improve on those numbers if he stays healthy.
After a frustrating campaign in a new team, the point guard's primary focus is getting back on the court rather than getting a new contract.
"I just want to play, to be honest," Russell said. "That's really been my main focus.
"Staying healthy and finishing the season on a positive note. As a team, there's a lot that we can really work on.
"Those have really been outweighing my thoughts on an extension and all of that."
The former Ohio State product certainly has the talent to succeed in the current NBA era with his shooting prowess and ability to score almost at will but he's often questioned for his attitude.
The 2018-19 season will be huge for Russell as he'll hope to earn himself a big deal and secure his future in the league.
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