Kristaps, D'Angelo

We’ve already established that Byron Scott can’t coach or develop talent for the Los Angeles Lakers. But does he suck when it comes to identifying talent as well? He was part of the decision to draft D’Angelo Russell over Kristaps Porzingis.

We aren’t even two weeks into the rookie season of both players, so it’s not a very smart move to declare one player a success or better than the other. But despite the New York Knicks not doing all too well out of the gate (which was to be expected), Porzingis is exceeding expectations. The 20-year old Latvian, who so many feared was not ready for this league, is averaging 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, already building a reputation as a nasty putback dunk artist.

D’Angelo Russell? He doesn’t have much of a reputation so far. He’s averaging 10 points on 40% from the field so far this season, looking as inconsistent as you might expect from a rookie point guard, especially when it comes to his outside shooting, making a disappointing 30.4% of his shots from beyond the arc, putting up 4.6 per game. But he’s in a different situation. He might not be in the best set of hands to develop him, not to mention playing next to someone who hates seeing players thriving around him. Kobe Bryant, you might have heard of him.

Byron Scott said something interesting. It’s more of a compliment to Porzingis and not an insult or putting down Russell. But Scott hates being asked about the development and playing time of the second overall pick (Porzingis was fourth), and hasn’t been shy to criticize pretty much every player he has when he feels he’s getting criticized too fiercely, except for Kobe Bryant, who gets a pass no matter how bad he is.

What, did the Lakers expect Russell to be a hit right away? Was development time the only reason Porzingis wasn’t picked? That makes for some weird thinking. It would have been quite a shock had the Lakers look ed good this season. Maybe they decided having Julius Randle, basically a rookie, was enough. We won’t know if they made a mistake for a few years. Scott should be gone from the team by then, and who knows, maybe he’ll be filled with regret about the player he didn’t pick.