D’Angelo Russell, the Los Angeles Lakers rookie, has something to say about Kobe Bryant’s license to rack up 20-25 shots a game. As Bryant continues to chuck up a bunch of shots, it was only a matter of time before a teammate spoke up.
Russell came off the bench Monday night as the Los Angeles Lakers suffered yet another defeat, this time to Toronto Raptors on the road. After the game, when asked about his bench role, Russell said, “There’s just more ball movement (with me coming off the bench). No disrespect to Kobe, but you know you have more opportunity because of who he is.”
Clearly, Russell is suggesting he would rather be on the floor when Bryant is not. Bryant, shooting a historically low field goal percentage this year, is averaging 15.9 points while shooting an appalling 21 per cent from deep and 29 per cent overall.
Many pundits reckon that by playing Bryant more than 30 minutes a night, Lakers coach Byron Scott is hampering the development of the young trio of Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle. In related news, Randle also came off the bench on Monday night for 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Prior to the game, Lakers coach Scott justified his decision to bench Russell and Randle. “Look, (Russell and Randle) are young. They still have a long way to go. They’ve got a lot of work to do. 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,” said the former showtime Laker.
Scott said he wanted to experiment with the line-up since his team is on a losing streak. “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,” said Scott.