Power forward Julius Randle and point guard D’Angelo Russell were not happy with Lakers coach Byron Scott’s decision on Monday to remove them from the starting lineup, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Scott made the surprising announcement that Randle, the team’s lottery pick last year, and Russell, the No. 2 overall pick this season, would be replaced in the lineup by another rookie, power forward Larry Nance Jr., and veteran point guard Lou Williams. “You’re never going to be thrilled about it as a competitor,” Randle told the team’s traveling media. “But it’s out of your control. What I can control is go out there and play hard like we’ve been doing.” Russell felt he was developing better chemistry with his teammates, Medina continues. “I started to figure it out and this happened,” Russell said. “I don’t feel like this will get in the way of my growth.” Scott did not tell either player his thought process for the lineup changes but he could alter it again during the next five to 10 games, Medina adds.
In other news around the Pacific Division:
- Nick Young admits that exasperation over his team’s 3-17 start led to his ejection against the Pistons on Sunday night, Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com writes. The Lakers’ backup shooting guard was tossed in the fourth quarter of a 111-91 loss when he shoved Detroit forward Anthony Tolliver in the neck after a hard foul. Young was not suspended by the league. “It’s tough,” he said to Holmes and other members of the media. “There’s a lot of frustration. It’s a struggle and it’s building up.”
- Luke Walton credits his former Lakers coach, Phil Jackson, with showing him how to comport himself in his current job, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports. The interim Warriors coach discovered the value of staying grounded through Jackson. “Phil was the first coach I had — well, I shouldn’t say the first coach that I had, but the first one who made me recognize it as a bigger picture,” Walton told Berger. “He never got too upset; he never got too excited. He was just even-keel all the time. His beliefs as a teacher, that you’re at your most dangerous when you’re level-headed and can make decisions … I believe wholeheartedly in that.”
- The Kings recalled rookie forward Duje Dukan from their D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, the team announced on its website. Dukan, an undrafted 24-year-old power forward, averaged 13 points and 3.8 rebounds in four games with the Bighorns. He has not made his NBA debut.