The Lakers coach removed the young players from the starting lineup, cut their playing time and didn’t talk to them about it. It was as if Scott was trying to mangle this.
But against the Timberwolves, Scott – at Kobe Bryant‘s behest – gave Russell and Randle a healthy dose of minutes, including in crunch time with Kobe sitting. Russell hit a couple big shots, but he missed the potential game-winner. The Lakers lost, increasing their chance of keeping their top-three protected first-round pick.
Everyone went home happy.
We might even see Scott employ that strategy again.
“Eventually, it’s going to be kind of like this anyway,” Scott said about Bryant watching from the sidelines at the conclusion of the loss to Minnesota. “It’s going to come a point in time, probably in the second half of the season, where Kobe doesn’t play a lot in that fourth quarter, just so these guys can grow.”
Scott added, “And they’re probably going to fall on their face [sic] a bunch more times, but at the end of the day, they’ll at least be put in that position where they can grow and get better and feel more comfortable about it.”
What a brilliant plan. I have only one question:
Why wait until the second half of the season?