In an interview with David Aldridge of NBA.com, Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell admitted that he still has much to learn about the game but lamented that the lines of communication between him and coach Byron Scott aren’t more open to help facilitate his growth. When asked by Aldridge if he and Scott communicate freely, Russell responded, “At this day and age, you kind of have a feel for what you did wrong. It might sound weird, but you don’t know what to ask. So like, I turned the ball over. I know I turned the ball over and I’m coming out of the game. I’m not sure if that’s why you’re pulling me out, but I’m not sure what to ask. ‘Cause I know I turned it over. There’s nothing that you can possibly say that’s going to bring that turnover back, or anything that I can possibly do. But it’s like, I don’t know what to ask. It’s like, he wouldn’t, I don’t know, tell me if I don’t ask. So that’s where it’s kind of a blur. ” Russell has previously expressed his frustration at not being on the court late in games and Scott has come under scrutiny for not playing the team’s younger players more this season.
Here’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Suns GM Ryan McDonough noted that one reason former coach Jeff Hornacek was fired is because the players no longer responded to his leadership, Bob Baum of The Associated Press writes. “I realize Jeff was in a tough spot [because of the injuries],” McDonough said, “but at the same time the team wasn’t competing how we hoped it would or how we think it is capable of competing.“
- McDonough recommended firing Hornacek to Suns owner Robert Sarver, but admits it was difficult to do so because of his close relationship with the former coach, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic relays (via Twitter).
- Warriors coach Steve Kerr has not allowed his prolonged absence, nor the team’s stellar record, to curb his fire, and the coach is demonstrating just how valuable he is to the franchise by challenging the team to continue to improve, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.
- Suns interim coach Earl Watson intends to make Markieff Morris the focal point of the team’s offense and show him that the organization cares about him as a person, Coro relays. “He is the main focus of our offense moving forward,” Watson said regarding Morris. “I had a feeling that if we gave him positive encouragement and let him know that no matter what we love him, no matter what happens beyond basketball, and gave him an opportunity to play and let him know he is going to play. … Some things are bigger than basketball so when you reach out beyond basketball, players tend to respond well.”