Coach Byron Scott said unless players improve they’ll be sitting on the bench

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Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott said, unless young players make a faster progress, they’ll be sitting on the bench.

Friday before the Lakers’ 104-98 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center coach Scott said,” I think when you make a mistake over and over again, sometimes that wood has a good way of talking to your butt a little bit, too.”

“Getting a couple splinters here and there, sometimes that has a great way of communicating how important it is to play on that (defensive) end of the floor.”

Before Friday’s game the Lakers were last in the NBA in defensive efficiency.

When Scott was asked whether his comments were fixed on rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell he said, “I’m saying that he has to start getting it, just like the other young guys have to start getting it, and if they don’t, they won’t play as much.”

Statistically speaking, the Lakers were allowing 116.7 points per 100 possessions with Russell on the court, next to 109.2 with Russell off the court,

Coach Scott was asked if this means sitting Russell.

“I don’t know about sitting him for games,” Scott said. “But I do know that all these guys have to start progressing a little bit faster. Playing time in this league is a very precious thing, and I don’t want our guys to take that for granted. So missing assignments on a continuous basis is not going to go unnoticed. You’ve got to start developing and doing a better job on [the defensive] end of the floor.”

After a reporter made Russell aware of Scott’s comments he said, “That’s the way it should be, I feel like if you’re doing the best for the team, that is who should be out there.”

Scott exalted Russell’s play after the game.

“He was better, there’s no doubt about that,” Scott said. “Growth-wise, I thought he did a better job of controlling the tempo of the game, getting this into our offense.”

Scott also said, “It wasn’t an idle threat about telling guys that I’m just going to find guys who can do it and play guys off the bench if I see the same mistakes over and over. We’ll just see how it goes.”

Kobe Bryant also exalted Russell.

“He helped us tremendously,” Bryant said. “I think Byron is going to keep on challenging him and force him to dig deep and push himself.”

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