Former Lakers HC Byron Scott Discusses Shareef O’Neal, Scotty Pippen Jr.’s NBA Future
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Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott was one of the many interested observers in the team’s second-generation prospects this summer.
Speaking to TMZ Sports, Scott gave his assessment of the NBA Summer League performances of Shareef O’Neal and Scotty Pippen Jr., the sons of Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Scottie Pippen, respectively. The 61-year-old believes O’Neal flashed his potential, while Pippen is ahead of the curve.
“I think he looked a little bit out of place,” Scott said of O’Neal, a 6’10” forward. “He wasn’t ready. I think he still has a little ways to go. I think the talent is there. Obviously, the athleticism is there. It’s just some other things he has to kind of tweak. But Scotty Pippen Jr. looked really good.”
Pippen and O’Neal signed with the Lakers as undrafted free agents. Both are likely to see significant time with Los Angeles’ G League affiliate.
A two-time first-team All-SEC selection in three years at Vanderbilt, the 6’3″ Pippen averaged 11.6 points, 4.8 assists and 2.3 steals in eight summer-league games. O’Neal appeared in six games and averaged 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per contest.
Scott said what set Pippen apart was his college experience, considering O’Neal transferred from UCLA to LSU and missed extensive time because of injuries and health issues.
“Again, it goes back to showing you four years of school compared to a guy that just went a year or whatever the case may be is a big difference,” Scott said. “Scotty is NBA-ready.”
The 2008 NBA Coach of the Year believes once O’Neal is healthy, he will live up to the expectations that his last name carries.
“The fact that he’s not where everybody thinks he should be at this particular point is because of some of the medical conditions that he’s had to deal with,” Scott said. “And he’s still young. Give him a chance.”
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