Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach, Byron Scott, revealed in a television appearance on Wednesday that D’Angelo Russell was not ready for the NBA. Scott also fired back at some of the people who criticized him for not handling rookies very well.
“I think it’s crazy. You look back on my career. I had Chris Paul when he was a rookie. I gave him the keys to the car and he ran the show and did an unbelievable job,” Scott said on ESPN’s The Jump regarding the criticism he gets.
The 55-year-old coach then compared Russell to Paul, saying that CP3 was physically and mentally ready for the NBA. Scott coached Paul for four seasons in New Orleans, helping him become one of the best point guards in the league.
“Not the same guys. At 19, Chris Paul came into the league and he was ready, both physically and mentally,” he said.
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Scott also compared Russell to Kyrie Irving, who won Rookie of the Year in 2012 playing under him while he was the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. “After we drafted Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 pick in Cleveland, I immediately gave him the keys to the car,” the former Lakers coach said.
“To me, I feel if you’re ready, I am going to give it to you. If you’re not, I am going to make you earn it. It’s pretty much that simple,” he added.
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Nonetheless, Scott still believes that D’Angelo Russell can still be a star when asked during an interview on The Dan Patrick Show. He mentioned that the 20-year-old has the potential but needs to work on a lot of things.
“His work ethic has to get better. His understanding of the game has to get better, but he can flat out score, and he really sees the floor extremely well. He has some tools you can’t teach, but the little intricate parts of the game are the things he has to learn,” Scott said.
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