NEW YORK — The Lakers already started their five-game trip poorly, the heavy traffic forcing the team to arrive at morning shootaround about a half hour late. Lakers coach Byron Scott still held up his vow to minimize these sessions, but he used that time to stress one message in hopes the Lakers (0-4) collect their first win when they visit the Brooklyn Nets (0-5) tonight at Barclays Center.
Following a 15-minute film session, Scott warned his players, “I’m not waiting 10 to 15 games” before considering lineup changes.
“It’s from now to now,” Scott said in describing his level of patience. “I’m going to put guys out there that will bust their butts. All the things we’ve been doing the last six weeks, we need to get that and it can’t just be in practice. I told them pretty much a challenge to them that if it’s not being done, I’ll start playing other guys.”
The Lakers will feature the same starters against Brooklyn, including rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell, second-year guard Jordan Clarkson, 20-year NBA veteran Kobe Bryant, second-year forward Julius Randle and seven-year NBA veteran Roy Hibbert. But Scott said his bench rotation against the Nets “might be different.”
Scott declined to share specifics. But he held out the possibility that Lakers rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. and veteran forward Metta World Peace would crack the rotation after not playing in the first four games. Neither has rookie small forward Anthony Brown.
Regardless of how the lineup turns out, Scott has walked the tight rope between two possibly conflicting agendas.
Will Scott show enough flexibility to allow the crop of young players, namely Russell, to flourish?
“You also have to be realistic and understand you have a 19 year old, 20 year old in the starting lineup after playing one year of college basketball,” Scott said, referring to Russell and Randle. “It’s going to take those guys some time. I have to continue to be patient.”
Or will Scott exert a quick leash in hopes of squeezing out as many victories as possible?
“I’m not going to be patient for long,” Scott said. “I expect guys to get what we’re doing on both ends of the floor in a relatively quick manner.”