Lakers: Kobe Bryant Gave Directive to Let Young Players Finish Game


Kobe Bryant came up with the best idea that Byron Scott has had in the Lakers 2015-16 season 

The Los Angeles Lakers, despite suffering their 19th loss f the 2015-16 NBA season, showed more promise on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves than they have at arguably any other time this season. The reason is simple: Byron Scott allowed the future of the Lakers organization to have a moment by letting both D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle play down the stretch in the fourth quarter and in overtime.

What was even more enjoyable for for Lakers fans was the fact that the youthful duo was successful even in losing. Russell rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter to extend the game and Randle carried Los Angeles in that extra five minutes. However, there’s no doubt that fans were at least a bit surprised to see Scott let it happen.

As it turns out, fans were right to be surprised that the head coach would make that call because, well, he didn’t. After the game, Kobe Bryant was asked about why he sat out from the end of the third quarter on. He told the media that he told Scott to leave the young guys in:

If you have mixed emotions about the implications of Kobe making that call, you’re not alone.

For one, it’s refreshing to see Bryant deferring to the young players and letting them have their time to shine and develop. Moreover, he seemed legitimately excited on the bench when Russell and Randle were succeeding in their opportunities. That’s a positive for the Lakers moving forward.

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However, the fact that it took Kobe essentially saying, “Don’t put me in, coach” for Byron to not take out the young players is laughable at this point. It’s been abundantly clear that Scott has been a puppet for the front office and even for Bryant this season and this is 100 percent evidence of that. Kobe literally made a crunch-time rotation decision for Scott and the coach followed his retiring star’s orders. That’s unbelievable.

The hope, though, is that Kobe makes more decisions like this going forward. The finish to the Wolves game was one of the most exciting nights to this point in the Lakers’ 2015-16 season. It doesn’t matter that it was a loss because it gives fans hope by seeing the positive things that could be on the horizon with these young players serving as the core of the team.

Subsequently, here’s to hoping that Kobe continues making these types of late-game calls more often as the season goes on—even if it still means that Scott basically has no say or real hold over his players and authority in his decision-making.