In NBA news, the Los Angeles Lakers have decided to bench D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, according to ESPN.
Los Angeles Lakers bench D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle
Along with Jordan Clarkson, the combination of D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle are supposed to form the core of the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. They are the ones that are going to be the centerpieces of the franchise after Kobe Bryant walks away from the game. While this may already be a lost season, the Lakers were hoping to see some positive things from Russell and Randle to give fans some hope for what is to come. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott has decided to send D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle to the bench. Both players have started all 20 games that they have played in this season. Russell has drawn the ire of Scott on a couple of occasions already this season, which has earned D’Angelo a spot on the bench during the fourth quarter of a couple of games. Randle has been a bit more solid but he has not completely won over Byron. Scott has mentioned a disdain with defensive effort before, and the belief is that Russell and Randle are two of the culprits.
Louis Williams and Larry Nance Jr starting
To replace D’Angelo Russell, head coach Byron Scott opted to go with Louis Williams. The veteran guard loves to shoot the ball so he is far from being a traditional point guard. Scott will continue to use the two guard set by having Williams sharing the back court responsibilities with Jordan Clarkson. It will be interesting to see how Louis meshes with Kobe Bryant, who still loves to shoot the ball even though he has had multiple nights where his shooting percentage was atrocious.
When the Los Angeles Lakers had originally drafted Larry Nance Jr. late in the first round of the NBA Draft earlier this year, they were hoping that the former Wyoming University star was going to spend much of his time on the bench observing the game. Instead, the Lakers are now asking the 23-year-old to start in place of Julius Randle, the 7th overall draft selection in the 2014 NBA Draft. Since Nance is still prone to making mistakes, expect Byron Scott to lean on veteran Metta World Peace a bit more than he prefers.
Benching Kobe Bryant
There will be a good amount of people who criticize Byron Scott for benching D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. Kobe Bryant has been struggling pretty bad this season but the Los Angeles Lakers head coach has firmly stated that he was not going to bench his former teammate under any circumstances. Scott giving a pass to Bryant while punishing Russell and Randle could send a very bad message to an impressionable and young team. If they don’t react productively to the bench, then Byron runs the risk of losing D’Angelo and Julius.
From a schematic point of view, benching Kobe Bryant might a good thing for the Los Angeles Lakers. The 37-year-old would be playing against backup players so that might make it a bit easier for him to put up points. By having Bryant starting the game on the bench, Byron Scott could enable D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle to play through their mistakes and be ready for bigger roles next season. Playing fewer minutes might also enable his body to make it through the remaining games of his final NBA season.
Did Byron Scott make a mistake by benching D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle instead of Kobe Bryant?
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