Lakers Under the Microscope as NBA Talks Off-Court Trust, On-Court Chemistry

The most embarrassing season in Los Angeles Lakers history officially extended beyond the scope of their nightly on-court debauchery Wednesday night. One of the largest media contingencies of the season huddled inside an interview room before a game against the Miami Heat to hear what Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell had to say about something that had nothing to do with basketball.

The details aren't worth getting into here, but the aftereffect is. In almost any other setting, a privately recorded video should be irrelevant to everyone except those who are directly involved. But Russell and Young are public figures, and the distribution of their conversation—however it happened—shattered trust barriers. Its very existence ripped the fabric of common sense to shreds. 

What should be nobody’s business but that of Young, Russell and Young’s girlfriend has mushroomed into a reputation-shattering scandal that the Lakers and their 20-year-old rookie now need to rise above. 

“I know I’ve lost [everybody’s] trust and [I need] to gain it back,” Russell said. “That’s something you need for a winning team. You need everybody to trust each other. You need the first guy to trust the 15th guy, and that’s been my intentions.”

Trust is an easy thing to lose. In some cases, it can take months or years to earn. Universally, whether you're in the NBA or not, it can disappear in an instant. NBA players realize how sacred their alliances are and how valuable off-court relationships can be toward honing on-court success.

It’s far from an end-all, be-all. Talent, energy and relentless work ethic are necessary traits. But any and every edge matters in a league where the margins for success are razor-thin. 

“Obviously, you have some concern,” Lakers head coach Byron Scott said about whether Young a...

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