With the Los Angeles Lakers struggling through the first 20 games of the 2015-16 NBA season, head coach Byron Scott decided to make a starting lineup change by benching D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.
After playing 21 minutes against the Toronto Raptors where he finished with nine points and two assists, there are concerns about how Russell has been handled in his rookie season.
With Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis playing well, Michael Lee of Yahoo! Sports shares the front office were swayed to bypass them because Scott favored the point guard:
Scott’s decision to sit Russell late in games is confounding even for some members of the Lakers’ front office who were swayed to bypass Kristaps Porzingis and Jahlil Okafor because Scott favored the flashy point guard from Ohio State, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
With Scott favoring Russell over two big men, the front office is reportedly confounded with his decision to bench their point guard of the future. While the Lakers were not expected to make the playoffs in the Western Conference, there were expectations they would focus on player development this season to prepare for the post-Kobe Bryant era.
With the Lakers not winning and not properly developing their young core, there are a lot of questions about the direction of the franchise. As Russell and Julius Randle are expected to come off the bench for the next five to 10 games, it will be interesting to see if Lakers are able to win games.
Russell is averaging 10.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 27.4 minutes.