A completely random tug-of-war developed between Lakers Coach Byron Scott and Clippers TV analyst Don MacLean.
In the middle of it was D'Angelo Russell.
When the Clippers beat the Lakers last Friday, MacLean openly questioned why Scott wasn't letting Russell play more often.
"I really wish Byron Scott would just give D'Angelo Russell the keys and say, 'Go for it, man,'" MacLean said during the Clippers' 105-93 victory. "If Byron Scott would say, 'You know what, D'Angelo? I don't care if you turn it over 15 times tonight, you're going to play 35 minutes — go for it,' [Russell] will figure it out."
MacLean also works out young players during the off-season, often in conjunction with agents who want their new clients sharpened before the June draft. Russell was one of the players MacLean worked with for five weeks before the Lakers drafted him No. 2 overall.
In other words, MacLean is a fan of Russell. And obviously not a fan of Scott.
Scott had a message for MacLean at Monday's practice: Thanks but no thanks.
"Well, first of all to Don, that's why you're not coaching," Scott said when told of MacLean's on-air comments. "Let's put it this way: You don't let a guy go out there and just almost embarrass himself or kill himself by playing 35 minutes and creating 10, 12, 15 turnovers. I mean, the one thing it can do is self-destruct him as an individual."
Scott recently said he would reinsert Russell in the starting lineup, probably at some point after this month's All-Star break.
After Scott's comments Monday, MacLean went on the radio to defend himself.
"Karl-Anthony Towns is playing like the No. 1 pick in the draft. Jahlil Okafor is playing like the third pick in the draft. Why is the No. 2 pick not playing like the second pick in the draft?" MacLean said on the "Petros & Money Show" on 570 AM. "D'Angelo [is] 50 games in and doesn't look [any] different than he did in Game 1. So all the development and protecting that Byron is talking about doing, really hasn't done him any good."
MacLean, UCLA's all-time leading scorer who played in the NBA for nine seasons, also criticized Scott's coaching in general.
"I'm watching archaic schemes and it looks like a team that's playing in 1998 — walking it up, isos, no imagination, no creativity on the offensive end," he said. "The only thing the Lakers have is athleticism, and they walk it up every single time. And Byron's gone on record as saying he's a defensive minded coach, that's where they hang their hat; they're last in the league in defensive efficiency. And he's trying to get Nick Young, who by the way is one of premiere isolation players in the game, he really is. Now some of his off-the-court stuff gets in the way of that, but you're not really playing him because you expect him to be Kawhi Leonard on the defensive end.… It's absurd."
Scott ended the back-and-forth Tuesday at the Lakers' shoot-around.
When MacLean's radio rant was brought up, Scott said, "Who? I don't make nothing of it. Like I said, who?"