D’Angelo Russell was in the seventh grade when Byron Scott last coached in a playoff game, leading Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets. Russell was in kindergarten when Scott coached Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets to consecutive NBA Finals.
Scott’s newest point guard turns 20 next month, which means Russell has no recollection of Scott’s days with Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers. Scott is old enough to be Russell’s dad. That’s not unusual in the coach-player dynamic, only early on his relationship with L.A.’s critically important No. 2 overall pick, Scott decided to take on the father role, the demanding, task-master type — you know, hard-driving, overbearing, harshly critical — who ultimately drives his son to loathe him.
Maybe in a season or two or five, Russell will look back on his head coach’s machinations and realize Scott only did it because he loves him. Or maybe he won’t.