"We had a nice little talk today," Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott said after Wednesday's practice.
Scott said he initiated a conversation with 21-year-old Julius Randle after the power forward had become visibly frustrated over the past couple games and shared those frustrations with reporters.
"I still got a lot of faith in him. I still believe in him," Scott explained his message to the Lakers' top draft pick from 2014. "These two games aren't an indication of how I feel about him, but there're some things I have to do as a coach. And I told him, 'Every now and then, you're going to think, I'm a you-know-what hole. That's ok. It's my job to teach, and there're times when I'm going to be extremely hard on you.'"
Randle only played 16 minutes against Phoenix and 20 minutes against Golden State, and the youngster's visible frustrations had pushed Scott to publicly tell Randle to "Grow up" only a few days earlier.
On Wednesday, Scott said he told the forward, "When we get to the point where I'm not talking to you, then we got a big problem."
"Right now, he's young," Scott said. "He wants to do really well, which is understandable. And I want him to get back to the things that we talked about a few weeks ago, which he will."
How did Randle handle the talk with his coach?
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"He was great. Julius is a very respectful guy," Scott said. "Like I said, (he's) very humble. He wants to be good."
However, Scott did understand the kid's frustrations and pegged the recent drop in scoring production to teams scouting the young forward and forcing an expansion of the game, which has not happened just yet.
"He's young, he's frustrated with the fact that he's not playing the way he's capable of playing, and the one thing he has to understand is that teams are scouting him and they know what type of player he can be, so they're trying to make sure they take away certain things he's capable of doing," Scott said. "So, when that happens, you got to rely on some other things. His energy has been great, his effort's been great.
"Defensively, I want him to play a little be bit better on that end on the floor, and I really want him to get out on the floor and run the floor better as well. Other than that, he's going through a transition where teams are trying to figure him out, and they're trying to make sure they take away all his paint scores as much as possible, so he'll figure out other ways to score."
Visibly, Randle appeared in better spirits at the end of Wednesday's practice as he went through extra drills with the coaching staff.