Lakers: D’Angelo Russell Takes Shot at Kobe Bryant After Demotion


Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell took a jab at Kobe Bryant after playing his first game with the second unit

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott made one of the most curious decisions in recent memory on Monday night prior to his team’s matchup with the Toronto Raptors. Just about an hour before tip-off, the Lakers announced Scott’s decision to shake up the rotations. However, he unthinkably switched up the rotations by moving rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell and second-year forward Julius Randle to the bench.

Lou Williams and Larry Nance Jr. started in place of Russell and Randle as the Lakers actually played solidly against the Raptors, albeit in a losing effort. In fact, the demoted duo even performed admirably in their new, limited roles with the second-unit.

After the loss, there were obviously plenty of questions being asked to Scott, Randle, and Russell about the demotion. That happened to be when the rookie point guard took a subtle jab at Kobe Bryant regarding ball-movement:

Russell can say “no disrespect” all he wants, but he may as well be up in Bryant’s face clapping his hands and telling to pass the ball with those comments. That’s essentially what he’s saying after just one game and 21 minutes not playing in the starting lineup with Kobe.

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These comments from Russell simply state the obvious problem with the Lakers and Scott’s decision. The problem with Russell’s and Randle’s roles as starters isn’t Russell and Randle; the problem is that they are always forced to defer to Bryant who has been a ball-stopper extraordinaire this season.

At this point, no one can deny what Kobe Bryant means to the Lakers; the two are basically inseparable entities at this point. However, you can deny his effectiveness in any way for the Lakers in the 2015-16 season. Not only is he not performing well on a consistent basis, but now he’s actively detracting from two players widely considered to be the future of the franchise.

Russell apparently sees this, but the question is whether or not Scott, Jeanie Buss, or anyone in the Lakers front office will see it before it’s too late.