Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant remains questionable for Tuesday’s game vs. the Golden State Warriors and D’Angelo Russell has been added to the injury report. Russell attended Monday’s practice, but was sent home with a sore throat and is officially listed as questionable. Bryant came in to the facility to receive treatment on his sore right shoulder, but head coach Byron Scott says the shoulder is still bothering him.
The 8-27 Lakers are coming off their first three-game winning streak of the season, but face a 31-2 Warriors team on Tuesday night at Staples Center. If Bryant is unable to go, it’s likely rookie Anthony Brown will once again get the start, thought Scott also hinted at lineup changes being a possibility.
The power forward position, and specifically, Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr. have been at the forefront of recent conversations. With Nance Jr.’s latest elevated level of play in his starting position (leads rookies in field goal percentage, seventh in rebounding and 13th in scoring), the questions was also raised whether Scott has thought about playing Nance and Randle in the same lineup.
“I’m going to try it,” Scott said of playing Randle and Nance together. “I don’t know when, but I think both of those guys can guard, and I think both of them can guard certain threes and obviously certain fours in this league. There’s going to come a point in time this season when I definitely try that.”
Nance said he would absolutely welcome any changes that placed him and Randle in the same lineup.
“I would love that because it opens up a lot of switching opportunities between me and him,” Nance said at Monday’s practice. “We’re both dynamic players. I would love to get the chance to play with Julius.”
Scott has sung Nance’s praises as of late, referring to him as one of the “most unselfish” players on this current Lakers squad, admitting that it would be nice if some of his qualities rubbed off on some of his teammates.
Surprisingly, Nance still isn’t 100 percent since his ACL surgery he had about a year and a half ago. The doctors told Nance that it usually takes about two years for full recovery, which means this summer will be huge in terms of his development.
“The knee that he had surgery on is still not 100 percent, and it probably won’t be until the summer,” Scott said of Nance. “It’s crazy to see some of the things he does out there and it’s even crazier to think that his ceiling is that much higher.”
After Monday’s practice, forward Julius Randle admitted to his frustrations, after just under 16 minutes of playing time in Sunday’s win over the Phoenix Suns, also saying that he was unfairly singled out. Though Scott acknowledged Randle’s desire to succeed, as well as the degree to which immaturity plays into Randle’s reaction, he also made the solution for Randle pretty simple – grow up and better manage his emotions when he’s pulled from a game.
Scott said Randle will have another chance to prove himself when the Lakers take on the Warriors tomorrow. Let’s see how Randle responds.