The Lakers player development practices are interesting.
I have made the argument more than once that Byron Scott needs to play his young trio that the Lakers see as their future — Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle — together more (and have them close out games). Ideally, play them away from Kobe Bryant as much as possible — play Kobe with the second unit more and let him and Lou Williams (and Nick Young) fight it out for shots.
But there are ways to stagger those guys gracefully. Scott chose another path.
Scott benched Russell and Randle in favor of starting Lou Williams against the Raptors Sunday.
According to Baxter Holmes of the youngsters were not fans of this plan.
“You’re never going to be thrilled about it as a competitor. It’s out of our control,” said Randle, who’s averaging 11.7 points and a team-high 9.2 rebounds in 28.4 minutes this season…
“I feel like I was starting to figure it out, then this happened,” Russell said. “But I don’t feel like it’s something that’s going to get in the way of my growth. But it is what it is. I can’t do anything about it…. Everybody has a story at the end of the day as far as what they’ve been through to get to where they want to be or where they’re at at that point. Hopefully I can look back at this and laugh.”
Scott explains his logic.
“This change wasn’t so much based on them not performing up to their capability. It’s based on where we are as a team. That’s why I made this adjustment tonight. We’re 3-17, so obviously it’s not working. So I wanted to get some new blood in there, some fresh blood, and see how those guys play. Five to 10 games from now, there might be another change. We might go back to what we did last year with different rotations.”
Spoken like a coach trying to win games now, not focus on player development first.
Which apparently are the orders from farther up the food chain, because the whispers say that Scott has been given a pass by management for this start and he isn’t seen as the problem.
As a reminder, the Lakers get to keep their pick if it is in the top three of the June draft, if it’s fourth or later the pick goes to the Sixers.