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Byron Scott threatens to bench young players for lack of execution

Scott is tired of his team making mistakes.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott told reporters on Wednesday that he was not going to hold Kobe Bryant accountable for his poor shot selection and horrific shooting percentages on those shots. Scott did say, however, that he is going to begin to hold the Lakers' younger players accountable for defensive mistakes.

"I told them today, 'my patience has run thin.'" Scott said, as reported by NBCLA's Shahan Ahmed. "Defensively, if you're not doing the things that I need you to do, if you're not getting back in transition, if we say that we're going to 'red' on pick-and-roll, which means we're going to trap, if you don't do that, then I'm just going to start taking guys out because they got to start getting it."

Scott being frustrated by the innumerable lapses of a Lakers' defense currently ranked 28th out of 30 NBA teams is understandable. But when you play Brandon Bass at center or Kobe Bryant and Lou Williams at all, a certain amount of defensive errors are a guarantee. Those were not the players Scott mentioned by name when talking about the Lakers' mistakes (again via NBCLA):

"First play of the game they run, Jordan goes under (the screen), and that's not our game plan," Scott continued. "Like I told them, that's a lack of focus. Things like that are the things that are really, really hurting us. D'Angelo did the same thing in the fourth quarter."
Calling out second-year Jordan Clarkson and rookie D'Angelo Russell by name sent a clear message that none of the young players have a pass. If the no. 2 pick and the Lakers' most consistent young player got called out for mistakes by name, Scott in effect singled out two of his young leaders as prime candidates for benching.
"I think guys are maybe getting a little too comfortable," he said. "They got to be held a little bit more accountable for their actions out there. Like I said, I've been lenient because they are young and they're learning, but it's that time that you got to start getting it."

Scott also threatened to bench the team's younger players if he did not see defensive improvements earlier this season, so perhaps this is just his way of trying to motivate the team, and to be fair, Scott is not wrong in his assessment that Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell have not been great on defense.

But as with his giving Kobe a free pass on offense, Scott is walking a precarious line by not holding him or any of the other veteran players accountable for their defensive mistakes while singling out the team's younger players by name in the media. Scott already cited that his team has "trust issues," and it is hard to see how these comments will help solve them.

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