The Time Has Come for Lakers to Move D’Angelo Russell Back to Starting Lineup

The Los Angeles Lakers won their sixth game of the season Wednesday night, walloping the Boston Celtics with a 112-point uppercut. It was Los Angeles’ third win since head coach Byron Scott decided to alter his starting lineup by replacing D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle with Lou Williams and Larry Nance Jr. 

Russell and Randle both shined off the bench in their first trips to Boston, combining for 31 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and only three turnovers. At times, both youngsters carried the Lakers, particularly a struggling Kobe Bryant, who finished with 15 points on 18 field-goal attempts. 

When Scott demoted Randle and Russell, back on Dec. 7, it was viewed as a temporary experiment. Change was necessary, as Los Angeles’ starting unit of Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Bryant, Randle and Roy Hibbert was easily the least effective five-man unit in basketball, getting blasted with a net rating of -13.9 in 261 depressing minutes, per 

The move has been a relative success, in that Los Angeles is slowly starting to isolate less and pass more. But it hasn’t resulted in wins, and it isn’t the most ideal way to develop the organization’s most important player: Russell.

Immediately after the Lakers fell to the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas Day, Scott was asked about the rotational imbalance that continues to fuel his team’s inconsistent play. 

“One of the main reasons I made the change with the starting lineup was the starting lineup wasn’t getting off to a good start, and the bench was playing pretty well,” Scott said. “Now the starting lineup has recently been getting off to a good start and the bench hasn’t been playing well. Well, this is game 10, and, like I said, I’d give it about five, 10 games…but I’m really kind of inclined to let this play out until the end of the ...

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