With the Los Angeles Lakers far removed from the playoff chase at 11-49, head coach Byron Scott is beginning to focus on the future of the roster. Scott told Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times on Monday that he plans to play the team's young players more over the last 22 games of the season, particularly sophomore forward Tarik Black and rookie swingman Anthony Brown.
Brown already appeared in the team's last game, a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night, and Scott said he will play the Southern California native more minutes the rest of the way so the team can see what they have.
"Now I want to see again, these last 20 or so games, let's see how much he's developed from that time where he was getting starts and he was playing 18, 19 minutes a game to now," Scott told Turner. "Let's see if he's gotten better."
Brown has mostly struggled offensively from an individual standpoint, shooting just 31.5 percent from the field and 28.8 percent on three-pointers, but it's the other end where he's made his mark. The Lakers give up a team worst 111.5 points per 100 possessions while Brown is on the bench, but when Brown is on the floor, the Lakers allow opponents to score just 100.2 points per game. That figure is somewhat notable given that the Stanford product has played in more than just blowouts, especially when starting in place of Kobe Bryant.
Scott also committed to finally answering the calls to #FreeTarikBlack. The reserve big man has received just 12.2 minutes per game in the 2015-16 season after a breakout rookie campaign where it appeared the Lakers had found a future bench stalwart.
Black is the Lakers best dive man out of pick-and-rolls, and while it is a small sample size somewhat skewed by lopsided games, the Lakers have outscored their opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions when Black is on the floor (the best mark on the team). Black is undersized at a generously listed 6'9, but he has still been one of the team's best rebounders, grabbing 19.1 percent of caroms during his floor time.
It remains to be seen which of the team's veterans will see their minutes trimmed or cut entirely in order to make way for the youth movement, but the Lakers are taking a positive step in using the rest of this lost season to evaluate their young players going forward.
All stats per NBA.com. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.