Jeru the Damaja introduced that lyric to the world in “Brooklyn Took It,” which dropped in 1994. It’s been 25 years since then, but for the Brooklyn Nets, it still holds weight today. The Nets are most definitely back. They’re in the middle of the playoff picture, holding on to a future that’s shimmering with potential, while rolling through a fast-tracked rebuild in the present. Their nimble turnaround from a team burdened with horrible contracts, aging centerpieces and no draft picks is a credit to great coaching, fluid team-oriented offense, a sound defense and, most importantly, D’Angelo Russell.

Russell earned his first All-Star selection this season, convincingly evolving into the best player on a team headed to the postseason. He’s fought through years of deafening criticism to become one of the League’s most effective and entertaining point guards. He’s an artist in the pick-and-roll, a ballplayer with no fear. Give him the rock in the clutch and get out the way.

The all-around growth

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