D’Angelo Russell and Byron Scott have been at loggerheads all season. The Lakers are not benefiting from the fact that their prized rookie and coach find new ways to criticize each other.
After losing his starting place, Russell has been made to sit through multiple fourth quarters. While Russell hasn’t refrained from speaking his mind, Scott has questioned the teenager’s development at every given opportunity.
After the Lakers’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, Scott said that Russell wasn’t as mature as Chris Paul and Kyrie Irivng at the same age. “(Irving) was just a little bit more mature (than Russell),” the Lakers coach was quoted as saying by ESPN’s Baxter Holmes. “At 19, (Irving) he was a little bit more businesslike at practice and games. D’Angelo still has a playfulness about him. Sometimes in practice he’s joking around and losing a little bit of focus. But he’s 19. I understand that.
“Chris Paul was probably like 23 years old by the time he came into the league in his mental capacity. But like I said, each point guard, each guy I have, is different,” added Scott, who had coached Paul and Irving during their rookie seasons at New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively.
Not been easy on the rookie…
Scot admitted that he had been harsh on the budding rookie. “I haven’t been the easiest man on him (Ruusell) in the world. But I always seem to go back to thinking – after I’ve been so hard on him on certain occasions – that he’s 19 years old, and he’s just a kid playing in a man’s world. I know the potential is there. He’s just got to keep working at it. I’m going to stay on him because I think he has a chance to be a very good basketball player,” said the former showtime Laker.
Scott has had the unique distinction of coaching Jason Kidd, Kyrie Irving and Chris Paul during their rookie seasons. “Each point guard that I’ve had is a totally different situation. D’Angelo is in a situation that is totally different from Kyrie and Chris Paul and Jason Kidd and other guys I’ve had. I treat them according to what they bring to the table.”
Many are of the opinion that D’Angelo Russell hasn’t been allowed to exhibit his full repertoire of skills because of Scott’s regimented coaching. Some even feel that Russell’s true rookie season will begin next year when Scott is most likely to be replaced by either Luke Walton or Mark Jackson.