Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott has been criticized quite a bit as of late for his usage of rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell. That criticism is bound to kick into high gear once again after the loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night with Russell not playing a minute in the fourth quarter.
After the loss to the Heat, Coach Scott talked about not playing Russell in the fourth on TWCSportsNet. Scott said Russell didn’t get back in the game because Miami’s lead was too big, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Byron Scott said he didn’t really consider bringing D’Angelo Russell back in at the end of the game, Miami had too big of a lead.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) November 11, 2015
Recently, Scott has said that he values winning over developing the young players on the squad. Although the Lakers are clearly rebuilding, Scott doesn’t want to sacrifice a chance to win in order to test players like Russell late in games. Scott’s philosophy has left many confused about his intentions with Russell. Not playing the rookie in garbage time is a questionable move to say the least and at times it seems to leave the rookie wondering where he fits on this team. Russell has been making progress with every passing game. The 19-year-old may not be as far along as fellow rookies like Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns, but it seems difficult for him to get into a rhythm with no telling when he’ll be back on the floor once he initially heads to the bench. Along with Kobe Bryant’s day-to-day status, Russell’s minutes late in games and the development of the young players on the squad will continue to be a hot topic of discussion. The Lakers will be back in action tomorrow night against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center before heading to Texas for a Friday night showdown with the Dallas Mavericks.