Head coach Byron Scott of the Los Angeles Lakers has taken an unexpected approach with his young players this season. Scott has been reluctant to give rookie D’Angelo Russell and second-year forward Julius Randle a starting role on his team until just recently and has received a fair amount of criticism for waiting this long to do so.
After recently reinserting Russell back into the starting lineup, Scott appears to be content with his decision. Although Russell starting has resulted in the team improving as a whole as of yet, the rookie point guard has shown some individual progress.
Russell clearly appears more comfortable with his new role and recently said he feels that Scott has loosened the leash. Following the team’s practice on Sunday, Scott was asked about Russell’s comments via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
Byron on D'Angelo thinking he's playing w/ longer leash: "I don't think I've loosened it up. He’s just getting more comfortable in his role"
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 28, 2016
Russell will have the opportunity to continue to prove his worth for the rest of his rookie campaign. Scott has made the Ohio State product a starter in the Lakers backcourt for the remainder of the season and will also continue to have Randle starting at power forward as well.
Following the loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night, the Lakers have 22 games left on the schedule with the majority of them being played at the Staples Center. Los Angeles will host the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night before heading on the road to face the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on March 2.