Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak didn’t envision the team starting 3-18, and while the ire of many fans has gone toward Byron Scott, Kupchak tells Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times that culpability resides in the front office, too.
“I know people aren’t happy but that also should be directed at me. That’s the bottom line,” Kupchak said. “Everybody has to share in the blame. Whether that’s the GM, the coach or the players, it’s got to be directed somewhere. I think our fans would understand if you’re actually developing young players and there’s some growth, and maybe that’s yet to come. But in the first 20 games, it’s tough to find consistent results to feel good about.”
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- Kupchak said to Bresnahan for the same piece that this season can’t simply be about the end of Kobe Bryant‘s career. “I think our fans understand, this being Kobe’s last year, after 19 just ridiculous years, that we’re in a year that there’s going to be a salute and a goodbye, which in itself is exciting. But we’ve got to give them more than that,” Kupchak said. “Quite frankly, I have to get more answers on our players going forward on this [young] corps. I want to see them develop and not only just get through the season averaging X-number of minutes and then next year we just figure it out. We need answers this year.”
- The reasons Scott gave for demoting top 10 picks D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle to bench roles Monday are confounding, and they further signal the coach’s deference to Bryant instead of player development, argues Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com. “The biggest thing for those two right now is to understand how to play with their teammates,” Scott said in response to a question about what Russell and Randle can learn by watching from the bench. “This is more of a team sport, so I need them to learn how to play off each other and not with the ball all the time as well.”
- Metta World Peace spoke with Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News about his future coaching plans, sharing leadership responsibilities with Bryant, mentoring Julius Randle and retirement. “If it wasn’t for my meniscus tear [in 2013], I would say I could play until I was 40,” the 36-year-old World Peace said. “If I really wanted to, I could probably play until about 40. I’m just playing off the ball and playing hard. I could do that until I’m 40 years old.”