Daily NBA Fix: The Do’s And Don’ts Of Managing Rookies

Nov 20, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard D Angelo Russell (1) talks with Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott (left) during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard D Angelo Russell (1) talks with Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott (left) during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

While rookie Myles Turner excelled in his first NBA start last night for the Indiana Pacers, the Los Angeles Lakers are seemingly trying to kill D’Angelo Russell’s will to play basketball.

Do: Give your rookie the chance to succeed or fail without the fear if immediately being yanked immediately if the latter happens. Last night Frank Vogel and the Indiana Pacers gave Myles Turner his first chance to start in the NBA. Vogel said he would give Turner at least until halftime, but the feeling among the media was it was likely to be a longer experiment unless it was a colossal failure in those first 24 minutes.

Well, it wasn’t a failure as Turner scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds in the Pacers’ win over the Atlanta Hawks. Give the rookie a chance to fail to succeed for fail on their own terms. Turner was given that freedom, and he didn’t disappoint.

Don’t: Bench you rookie — who has improved as the season progresses — for “trying to take over the game.” The Los Angeles Lakers and Byron Scott did this with D’Angelo Russell recently.

"“I saw the last couple minutes that he was in that he was really trying to take over the game, and that’s not him yet,” Scott said. “I want the ball to move a little bit. I thought it stuck with him. He tried to make the big shots and things like that. I understand that, but to me, that’s not him right now.”In general, Scott said of Russell, “He’s been more aggressive to score. I think sometimes he’s taking what they’re giving him, and I think there’s other times where I think he’s kind of forcing the issue. He has to find a happy medium. He’s learning.”"

Yeah, it’s called the learning process. He’s going to make mistakes but benching him for trying to win isn’t going to help him grow as a player. Even for the most strong-minded, that sends a signal that Byron Scott will bench Russell for making mistakes on the job. Hopefully, D’Angelo doesn’t become too conservative if this continues, but it is usually better to allow people to make mistakes and see the consequences than try to keep them in check.

Do: Allow your rookie to be himself, with limitations. Don’t worry about managing his ego as much as making sure he’s getting time on the floor and developing as a player. He’ll make mistakes, but ultimately letting him play basketball and having him learn on the job will mean more than watching the veterans examples of “leadership.”

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Don’t: Have your rookies name floating around in trade talks in the middle of the season if you’re the Los Angeles Lakers and D’Angelo Russell. Though there are conflicting reports on this, it seems bizarre for it even to have come up. Of course, it makes more sense when it seems the coach is trying to bury the rookie on the depth chart.

Do: Let your veterans teach the rookies through example, not just through talking to them, and treat them fairly. The veterans will always have the top positions in a team’s hierarchy, but only to a certain point. If you’re allowing them to get away with everything, that’s not leadership. In a good situation, the veterans will lead the team both on and off the floor as we’ve seen Kevin Garnett do with Karl-Anthony Towns.

Don’t: Make up random reasons for why you are benching your rookies when it is an open secret you have unwritten rules about rookies. It seems clear the Byron Scott has a player’s mentality when it comes to handling rookies. That’s fine to a certain extent, but it seems like that has been taken to such an illogical point that it is hindering the Lakers’ growth as a team.

Do: Be smart, and like most teams in the NBA, allow your rookies to have a chance to prove themselves in games.

Don’t: Be Byron Scott and the Los Angles Lakers.

Speaking of Not Being the Lakers…

Last night the Chicago Bulls took care of business in their 114-91 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, but perhaps the best moment of the game came in the fourth quarter when Chicago was making sure Los Angeles had no chance of coming back at home.

Describing it wouldn’t do justice. Just watch the play repeatedly and soak in the greatness.

Anderson’s Big Night

It was a relatively quiet night in the NBA on Thursday, but Ryan Anderson‘s night was anything but that. Anderson went off for 30 points in the first half of the New Orleans Pelicans 114-105 win over the Sacramento Kings. He ended the night with 36 points.

More hoops habit: 15 Players Not Living Up To 2015 Summer Contracts

It isn’t too big of a surprise that Anderson had this in him as he’s averaged 17.4 points a game this year, but he took rookie Willie Cauley-Stein and everyone else on the Kings to task. Maybe the rookie can learn from this experience and will know not to give Anderson so much room next time.