Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Said Scott: “D’Angelo has a chance to be a superstar.”When the Lakers (5-24) host the Clippers (16-13) on Christmas Day in a designated home game at Staples Center, Paul and Russell will represent varying case studies on how projected elite point guards developed under Scott.Paul won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award in 2005-06 after leading his class in points (16.1 per game), assists (7.8), steals (2.24) and minutes played (36). He largely credited Scott for his initial success.“He let me play,” Paul said. “He basically gave me the ball and he let me go.”Through nearly 35 percent of his rookie season, Russell ranks fourth in his class in points (11.9), third in assists (3.4) and fourth in minutes played (28.1). Even before logging seven games as a reserve, Russell also frequently sat in partial or entire fourth-quarter stretches during both close games and blowouts. That left Russell admitting he wished Scott granted him more freedom. “You can play through your mistakes and you have some good vets around you that can coach you,” Russell said. “If I have that opportunity, I’ll take advantage of it.” Preparing for the roleDuring an offseason workout, Paul marveled at Russell’s intelligence while Russell admired Paul’s commanding presence. Paul also warned Russell about Scott’s conditioning-heavy training camp.“I just did things to get me in shape,” Russell said.Paul prepared a different way. “He told me I need to learn the plays,” Paul said of Scott. “That was the only way I was going to be able to play.”So Paul endlessly studied Scott’s Princeton-oriented offense, which Paul likened to perfecting “a foreign language.” At the first training camp practice, former New Orleans and current Lakers forward Brandon Bass reported Paul “already knew all the plays” and “even found some nuances within the offense so he can excel and make his teammates excel.”Bass stressed that Russell “has a pretty good feel for all of the plays” before praising his poise, decision-making and emerging shooting stroke. The Lakers have also complimented Russell’s film study, prolonged shooting sessions and weight training.But Scott suggested that has not translated into executing his offense the way he wants it. After Russell and Scott initially split play-calling duties, Scott has tilted the scale in his favor in recent weeks. Russell also shares ball-handling duties with Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson and Marcelo Huertas at varying times. After a recent game, Russell suggested limitations with Scott’s offense. “You try to make a run and sustain the run,” Russell said. “But there’s not much you can do when we’re trying to stay within the system.”While Russell dismissed questions on how much of Scott’s offense he has mastered, Scott reported Russell knows about 20 percent of his playbook. “At times, he does know. Then at other times in the game, I think he has no clue,” Scott said. “He’ll call a play for a high pick-and-roll and we’ll call it off. I’ll say, ‘No. Let’s do something that involves two or three passes.’” Gaining trustScott’s feedback to Paul seemed different.“It was a trust thing where I would turn the ball over sometimes and B. Scott would be like, ‘Play,’” Paul said. “He always had my back.”Paul recalled that Scott picked up a technical foul on Paul’s behalf amid a heated argument with Gary Payton. Paul also praised Scott that “he threw me into the fire” by defending the NBA’s top point guards despite entering the league undersized. Scott has since likened Paul to “his son.” There have been times Scott and Russell have playfully joked with each other after practice. Following Thursday’s session, Russell danced and sang “Happy Birthday” to Lakers development coach Thomas Scott. But despite describing his relationship with Scott as “cool,” Russell said it has stayed the same since wishing for improvement two weeks ago.“You have to build that relationship with your coach,” Russell said then. “Once I get that trust with my coach, I know I’ll have that opportunity more.”Russell has shown more success amid recent opportunities. In his second game off the bench earlier this month, Russell scored 23 points and forced overtime against Minnesota before missing a potential game winner. Starting for an injured Clarkson two days later, Russell posted a season-high 24 points and six assists against San Antonio. He also has averaged 4.4 assists in the last five games.“The progress to me has been nice and smooth,” Scott said of Russell. “But is it as fast as everybody else wants it to be? Probably not.”Yet, Scott strongly disagreed that Russell would accelerate his progress with more offensive autonomy, a starting role and more minutes. “If I let him run the show, you would have four other guys pretty (ticked) off every time they’re down the floor,” said Scott, who argued Russell looks more for his shot off pick-and-rolls than running the offense. “I want this to be more collective. Then, everybody can try to touch the ball and everybody feels a part of scoring.”The next stepNonetheless, Russell has contended he does not sense he has gained enough respect from his teammates to run the offense. He then downplayed his frustrations when Scott said that will eventually happen. Numerous teammates also pleaded for patience instead of offering Russell sympathy.Bryant suggested Scott should play Russell with him more despite his high-volume tendencies. “You have to go out there and continue to put the puzzle together,” Bryant said. “It’s just trial and error.”Clarkson advised Russell to maintain his work ethic instead of worrying about his role. “That’s a sense of entitlement. We don’t want him to feel like that,” Clarkson said. “He makes the right reads and gets everybody involved. It comes with time.”Lou Williams, who has started in Russell’s place, downplayed the issue.“He definitely has gained a lot of the guys’ trust,” Williams said of Russell. “I trust him with the ball and I trust his play-calling.”Bass argued Russell will climb the pecking order once he sustains a larger sample size.“Respect comes from production,” Bass said. “But he’s on the right track.” Paul pleaded ignorance on the Lakers’ current dynamics and Russell’s ongoing development. He also declined to address the criticism Scott has received with how he has developed Russell. And yet …“I’m a huge D’Angelo Russell fan,” Paul said. “Rookie year, you can have ups and downs and stuff like that. You’ve just got to stay the course.”Russell smiled as he heard the words relayed back to him. Though he has experienced a different path than Paul with both his rookie development and partnership with Scott, Russell found Paul’s feedback valuable. “There’s a whole lot of things D’Angelo can learn from him. “His competitive nature is one of them as well as the way he runs the team and the way he defends. Scott said. “[Paul] would do whatever it takes to win.”ROOKIE NUMBERSChris PaulAveraged 16.1 ppg, 7.8 apg in 36 mpgD’Angelo RussellAveraging 11.9 ppg, 3.4 apg in 32.8 mpg The first impressions left Byron Scott feeling giddy. Two young point guards provided highlight reels suggesting they would carry his rebuilding teams toward prosperity. Four plays into his first training camp practice in 2005, Chris Paul mastered Scott’s complex playbook with the former New Orleans Hornets enough for him to gloat to an assistant about the franchise’s No. 4 draft pick.Said Scott: “This kid is going to be special.”In three-on-three drills during his second pre-draft workout with the Lakers, D’Angelo Russell made Scott think of Magic Johnson and Paul with his court vision, passing and confidence. Scott then gloated again about the Lakers No. 2 draft selection.