Luke Walton, former coach of Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell, has kept a close eye on his progress after the Los Angeles Lakers opted to trade him and big man Timofey Mozgov for cornerstone center Brook Lopez during the summer.

The Lakers needed to free up a way for Lonzo Ball’s driveway to the point guard position, doing so by getting rid of their former No. 2 overall pick and shipping him eastward after showing various signs of inconsistency as the team’s floor general.

Russell has flourished in his new role with the Nets, taking the bulk of the scoring in the absence of Jeremy Lin, who suffered a freak injury in the opening day of the season — freeing up even more minutes for his involvement with the first unit.