Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott has taken criticism during the team's 2-9 start for a variety of things, from his heavy reliance on a 37-year old Kobe Bryant, to his rotation choices, and his defensive schemes. What has angered the most fans, however, has been Scott's usage (or lack thereof) of Lakers rookie point guard and second overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, D'Angelo Russell.
Scott has previously defended his usage of Russell by saying he does not want to push the 19-year old rookie into more responsibility than he is ready for, while also stating that he puts winning games right now ahead of developing young players. Scott has additionally cited Russell's defensive mistakes as a reason for sitting him during close games.
After the team's practice on Wednesday, Scott was asked how a rookie could build trust with him (transcription via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation):
"Players have got to make me want to trust them," Scott responded when asked about how he builds trust with rookies. "He's (D'Angelo Russell) one of those guys that I'm getting to that point where I'm trusting him, but I still want him to continue to learn and not try to do things on the fly just try to stick within the system as much as possible."
Scott also detailed how he has outlined "sticking within the system" to Russell:
"He's trying to find his niche and trying to find out what he can do within the offense to be successful," Scott said of Russell after Wednesday's practice. "And as I've I told him, I'm not looking for you to average 20 points a game, I'm looking for you to be our facilitator and get everybody where they need to be, but also to be aggressive when you have the opportunity to be aggressive. I think he's trying to figure out that happy medium."
Russell's teammate Jordan Clarkson recently said that the rookie should have patience and hope it will lead to a larger role and breakout similar to Clarkson's in the second half of the season. Russell has averaged 24.8 minutes per game, but has also sat for the entirety of the fourth quarter in four of the team's eleven games. Scott says he is starting to trust Russell, which could mean an increase in minutes and/or usage is on the horizon for the highly touted rookie.