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Ex-Coach for Kyrie Irving, D'Angelo Russell Says Duo Could '1,000 Percent' Work

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2019

BROOKLYN, NY - MARCH 30: D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics hug after the game on March 30, 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

The idea of putting Kyrie Irving and D'Angelo Russell in the same backcourt seems to raise some questions, but one coach who has worked with both players believes they could excel together.

"I 1,000 percent think that could work," Kevin Boyle said to the New York Post's Brian Lewis. "D'Angelo knows Kyrie, likes him, respects him. That could work with both sides. Kyrie could help D'Angelo to that top-10, top-15 level. I could see that blending together nicely. Not everybody fits with everybody. I don't know why in Boston the things didn't fit [for Irving], but it could fit there."

Boyle was Irving's coach at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and moved on to Montverde Academy in Florida, where he worked with Russell.

Irving can opt out of his contract this summer and Russell is a restricted free agent. Theoretically, a team could sign both All-Stars.

SNY's Anthony Puccio reported Saturday the Brooklyn Nets "would not shy away from signing Irving even if they re-sign [Russell]."

Along with the fact that they play the same position, Russell thrived in Brooklyn when he became the top playmaker and scoring threat—two roles that Irving would seemingly serve. According to Basketball Reference, Irving had a 29.6 percent usage rate in 2018-19, slightly below Russell's 31.9 percent usage rate.

Granted, some were skeptical whether the Houston Rockets could successfully add Chris Paul to a backcourt that included James Harden. The Rockets were one win away from the NBA Finals in 2018 and pushed the Golden State Warriors to six games in the second round this year.

For the most part, the Paul trade has worked for Houston.

Perhaps an Irving/Russell partnership would have a similarly surprising effect.

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