When Anthony Brown was inserted into the starting lineup Tuesday for the second straight game for the injured Kobe Bryant, Lakers Coach Byron Scott challenged his rookie small forward.
It started at the Lakers' shoot-around Tuesday morning as they prepared to play Brooklyn at Staples Center, when Scott questioned whether Brown had enough confidence in his game.
Scott said he gave Brown a nickname that he wouldn't reveal "until he proves me wrong."
Scott was asked if that could mess with a young player's confidence. "Well, I'm hoping it doesn't," he said. "I'm hoping it gives him that 'I'm going to prove you wrong' type of thing."
Scott said Brown's response was, "Since you called me out like that, let's do it."
"That's exactly what I wanted to see," Scott said. "But I want to see it tonight in the game. ... I thought he took it the right way. It was more of a challenge to him, and that's kind of how we took it all back in the day. I did it in a playful way. Guys, I'm not that much of a monster like you guys might think."
Brown scored two points on one-for-six shooting against the Nets.
Scott said "it's fun" to push players' buttons to see if they'll accept the challenge.
"Like I said, I'll do it in a playful way, but I'm still trying to find out what they're made of," he said. "Like I said, if he responds the way he responded to me today, that's a great thing."
When asked if today's players are too sensitive, Scott hesitated before answering.
"Yeah, yeah," he finally replied. "Most of them are too sensitive. Yeah."
Since it'll be Bryant's last time playing in Denver, Scott said his star "wants to give it a go" for the game Wednesday night.
"And that's just the plan for the next two days," Scott said. "Obviously, we haven't planned on Friday [against Atlanta] or the game on Sunday [against Golden State]. We're just trying to take it a day at a time. But he wants to rest this [sore right shoulder] a little bit more and really try to give it a go tomorrow."
Scott said Larry Nance Jr. won't play in back-to-back games the rest of the season because of his sore right knee. Nance played against Brooklyn on Tuesday night, but he won't play at Denver.
"We've got three back-to-back games, I think, this month and they're all after a home game where we fly right out and we play again," Scott said.