Byron Scott.

Former L.A. Lakers coach Scott admits he had to give D'Angelo Russell some tough love

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The L.A Lakers fired Byron Scott as coach late in April, but that hasn't stopped him from speaking on some issues that he encountered during his time with the franchise.

Scott, who spent 10 years as a player with the Lakers, was head coach for two years and had an overall record of 38-126 and oversaw the team's worst two campaigns in franchise history.

The record aside, one of the reasons for Scott's dismissal was his handling of the Lakers' young players off the court and during games. His problems with rookie point guard D'Angelo Russell, in particular, made headlines during the season.

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Scott appeared on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday and opened up about his relationship with Russell and how he felt he needed to be coached.

Per CBS Sports, asked if he gave Russell some tough love Scott replied: "Absolutely. Every now and then. I think some of these guys, when they come into the league, they think they're entitled. And I thought that's how he felt when he first got with us.

"He almost tried to act like he was a veteran, and I tried to make sure that he knew that he wasn't a veteran. You have to earn your stripes. So yeah, there were times where I was a little tough on him just to bring him back down to earth, to let him know that this is not an easy task when you're in the NBA.

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"That's the easy part is getting there. The hardest part is staying there, getting better and better and better. So yeah, I had some tough love for the young man. But just like I told him, 'When I stop talking to you, that's going to be a problem.' I had a lot of love for him and he put himself in some tough situations obviously, but I think he's going to be a good player."

Despite his treatment of Russell and the youngster's attitude, Scott believes he has the potential to become a star point guard in the NBA, which is arguably the toughest position in the league today.

With players such as Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and John Wall, the league is blessed with its best era of point guards and the former Lakers coach is confident Russell can join that list if he puts the work in.

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"I think he can. Obviously, there will be some question marks with that. His work ethic has to get better. His understanding of the game has to get better, but he has some tools," he said.

"He can flat out score, he really sees the floor extremely well. So he has some tools you can't teach, but the little intricate parts of the game are the things he has to learn.

"And he's 20 years old. I mean, he's a young pup, he's got a long ways to go, but if he puts in the work, I think the kid can be a great player."

The responsibility of turning Russell into an elite point guard will now fall on the shoulders of the purple and gold's new coach Luke Walton who will take over this summer.

Working with Curry in Golden State, Walton has seen a superstar point guard in action first hand and will take it upon himself to instil that into Russell and per the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, Walton is already looking forward to working with him.

"To me, he can be a perennial All-Star," Walton said. "He has the vision that you want your point guard to have. He sees the floor. Once they put him in the starting lineup, he naturally got a little more aggressive."

Western Conference
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
D'Angelo Russell
Kobe Bryant

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