He had a 27-point game in Sacramento and an almost scoreless one against Chicago, leading to an overall acknowledgment from
"I probably thought he'd be a little further," Scott said Saturday before the Lakers played the
The second overall draft pick can improve in key areas. He was averaging 12.1 points but shooting only 41.7% before Saturday's game. His assist-to-turnover ratio needs to perk up as well — 3.3 assists and 2.4 turnovers per game.
Scott's thoughts? Russell needs to run the offense better.
"[He's] just kind of figuring that out. I still see him progressing but I was hoping that he'd just be a tad further along," Scott said. "Defensively, I was hoping he'd be a tad further along on the ball as well as off the ball. But those are things I look back from training camp until now — he's gotten so much better in a lot of those areas. He knows and I know he still has a long way to go in those areas as well."
Russell will probably rejoin the starting lineup at some point after the All-Star break, but he and Scott aren't having daily talks about it.
"No. He's not old enough for me to have a meeting with him to discuss 'What does he think?'" Scott said.
"He's such a kid. I told him the other day, 'You're 19 but sometimes I think you're 14.' And then sometimes I say, 'You're 19 but sometimes like today, you're 22, 23.' We have a real playful relationship because he's such a playful kid. At practice he has fun until we say, 'All right, let's get serious because it's practice.' Shoot-around is the same thing. But you can't help but just smile and like the kid."
As if scripted, Russell hit a bunch of three-pointers in a row during the Lakers' Saturday morning shoot-around. He yelled out to Scott while the coach talked to reporters near midcourt. He just wanted Scott to notice.
Scott's reply, with a smile: Make them in games.
Scott noticed when Russell recently downgraded his own play. It came after a bad game against the Bulls — three points on one-for-seven shooting, followed by the proclamation that he didn't deserve to get his starting job back.
"I said, 'OK, that's kind of self-policing yourself,'" Scott said. "I thought it was kind of good that he felt that way."
Interestingly, Scott said Russell would have struggled as a teenager on the "Showtime" teams. Then again, Scott admitted he personally would have needed an adjustment period too.
"The team I came in on, they'd have ate him up at 19 years old. I couldn't have handled this at 19. I know that for sure," Scott said. "I was glad when I came in when I was 21 years old and had a few years of college under my belt."
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