Aside from three games that Kobe Bryant took off to rest, the Lakers’ starting lineup has been the one constant this season.
D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Roy Hibbert have started each game, and Metta World Peace has filled in for all of Bryant’s absences.
Likewise, the five usual starters also get the team's most playing time. But that distribution of minutes could shift a bit if head coach Byron Scott deems it necessary.
At Friday’s practice, Scott wouldn’t say whether changes to playing time would affect the starters or bench, but he has shown his willingness to change up the latter. Only Nick Young and Lou Williams have come off the pine in all 14 games.
“I would love to play the same type of rotation and get productivity from both (units),” Scott said. “But that’s not happening on a consistent basis. And then when it doesn’t, you have to make changes.”
Scott maintains that it’s important for the younger Lakers, like Russell, Clarkson and Randle, to continue to play with one another. He said that it’s a particular challenge for less experienced players to trust their teammates, which leads to stagnant ball movement.
Fostering that trust is a focal point for Scott.
“I want to give these guys an opportunity to play with each other, so they can continue to learn and grow with each other,” he said.
And as for Scott himself, patience is key. He doesn’t want to pull the trigger on rotation changes before giving players an opportunity to meld together.
“I want to give it a few more games,” Scott said. “I still want them to try to understand what this is all about, and I understand that they have to try to figure it out at times.”