Los Angeles Lakers point guard D'Angelo Russell spent the fourth quarter of Tuesday's loss to the Denver Nuggets on the bench in favor of veteran Lou Williams. The rookie sensation admitted he has "no idea" what he must do to increase his role moving forward.
Baxter Holmes of ESPN passed along comments from the second overall pick in this year's draft, who didn't have much to say about head coach Byron Scott's decision.
"It's something I've got to deal with," he stated while also affirming confidence in his ability. "It's something that I'm capable of. It's all about opportunity, taking advantage of your opportunity. But I definitely know I'm capable."
Scott talked about Williams' strong play forcing his hand, but he also noted Russell is going to need to play those crucial minutes in order to grow as an NBA player, per Holmes.
"I've got to balance that—just knowing [Russell is] young," Scott said. "And he's going to have to experience that stuff as far as the fourth quarter when the game is on the line, because that's the only way he's going to really learn."
Russell finished the loss with seven points on 3-of-11 shooting to go along with six assists, two rebounds and four fouls.
Williams played 33 minutes, scoring 24 points on the strength of 16 made free throws and grabbing five rebounds. He's averaging 28.5 minutes through four games compared to 24.3 for the hyped rookie.
The question the Lakers have to answer in the weeks and months ahead is what this season is about. If they are focused solely on winning as many games as possible, even though the playoffs are a long shot in the loaded Western Conference, Russell's role will continue to vary.
That said, at some point, the organization has to start looking toward the future. The Lakers invested a high draft pick in Russell and, in a season where they are already 0-4 and aren't going to contend, getting him as much valuable in-game experience as possible seems like the better route to take.