Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott had some choice words for second-year power forward Julius Randle, who was visibly upset after being removed from his team's 97-77 victory Sunday over the Phoenix Suns, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com.
"He's got to grow up," Scott said Monday after the Lakers' practice at their facility. "Simple as that."
He didn't stop there, per Holmes: "I think the main thing I don't like is, when you take him out of a game, how he acts sometimes. But again, I chalk it up to immaturity and just being inexperienced at this level because it's going to happen again. I'm going to take him out of other games that he's not going to like."
Despite his strong words, Scott did say he "loves him" and thinks Randle will develop quickly, per Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News.
Randle, who missed nearly his entire rookie season after breaking his leg in his first NBA game, is close to averaging a double-double with 11.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. After averaging 15.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in two wins prior to Sunday's game, Randle had just two points in 16 minutes, despite grabbing 12 rebounds in the team's third straight victory.
Randle did not speak to reporters after the win over the Suns, but was upset Monday after he felt Scott singled him out for playing poor defense, per ESPN:
Byron Scott: "He's got to grow up." Julius Randle: "He singled me out." Trouble in L.A? https://t.co/kg2gEmRxqp https://t.co/KWpZJzx4an1/5/2016, 1:35:03 AM
Scott began making substitutions late in the game, which the Lakers once led by 38, and the head coach said Randle "took it probably the worst, and he's going to have to learn from it," per Holmes.
The 21-year-old admitted as much, but also defended his play, according to Holmes.
"I was frustrated I wasn't on the court. Simple," Randle said. "It wasn't like I was 0-for-25 or something. I took four shots. I still had 12 rebounds, still had three assists. I took what the defense gave me."
It's been a tumultuous season, to say the least, for Scott and the 8-27 Lakers, and Holmes said the relationship between Randle and Scott was already "rocky" before the latest episode.
Scott is an old-school coach who is known for being tough on players. He hopes Randle can learn from situations like this, per Holmes: "[Randle is] 21 years old. He's young. He's going to go through these types of things. As a coach, I'm going to let him go through it. I said my piece last night, and I'm going to let him go through it."
The Lakers, who had lost six of seven before the current win streak, will host the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. Randle's playing time, and how he reacts if Scott takes him out early, could indicate how big of a deal this could be for the young Laker moving forward.