Young Lakers are getting schooled by opponents

Young Lakers stars going through end-of-season struggles

Lou Williams, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell sit on the bench during the final minutes of the Lakers’ 112-93 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 20.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Forty-six games into their underwhelming season and the Lakers are still having trouble learning.

They have all these young students who are having difficulties with the lesson plan, some of it having been taught to the Lakers way back during training camp in October.

So when the Lakers failed to execute the game plan Saturday night against Portland, a dismayed Byron Scott was asked what kind of students does he have.

The Lakers coach paused and laughed before answering.


“I’m going to leave that question alone,” he said.

A young team, Scott was told.

“Yeah, a very young team,” he said.

Scott understands that D’Angelo Russell is a 19-year-old rookie, Julius Randle a 21-year-old second-year player, Jordan Clarkson a 23-year-old second-year player and Larry Nance Jr. a 23-year-old rookie.


But they are starting to show Scott that they are unable to consistently retain the lessons they are given on a daily basis, and that is bothersome.

It means that Scott is constantly teaching his young team things he thinks they should already know.

“Until they can get certain things that we’re trying to teach, we can’t move on until they learn it,” Scott said after Saturday night’s blowout loss to the Trail Blazers. “We even had to go backwards a little bit and go back to some of the things we talked about in training camp and start going over that again because we’ve gotten away from it.

“Again, it’s not punishment. But until you can prove to me that we’re ready to move on and do those things on a consistent basis, I’ve got to go back to the basics.”

What’s maddening for Scott is to see progress with his young team. And then he doesn’t see it.

“At times they make some steps forward. They do a better job,” said Scott, whose team next plays Tuesday night against Dallas at Staples Center. “And then two or three games later, it seems like they fall right back into that old pattern.

“So they’ve got to figure it out. There’s only so much that you can do as a coach as far as a game plan is concerned. You’ve got to be able to carry it out to the best of your ability. Our guards and our bigs, they are not doing it right now, especially [Saturday] night.”


The plan Saturday night against the Trail Blazers was to double team guards Damian Lillard (36 points) and CJ McCollum (28) in the pick-and-roll to get the ball out of their hands.

It was something Scott and his staff drove home with the young team the morning of the game, during the game and at halftime.

But they all failed to follow the game plan.

Scott said the guards didn’t do a “great job” of getting through the screens and the forwards did a “horrible job” of being up on the screens.

“We just didn’t do it,” Scott said. “Guards are attacking our guards and our bigs have got to do a better job of carrying out the game plan.”

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