Byron Scott believes Shaquille O'Neal's son, Shareef, can still have a future in the NBA despite having a rough go in Summer League ... telling TMZ Sports the talent is there, but the 22-year-old still has little things he needs to work on in his game.
We spoke with the former Lakers head coach out at LAX this week ... and he was very candid about what he saw from Shareef, sharing what he believes is the biggest reason the former UCLA and LSU product has struggled to find success playing pro ball this summer.
"I think he looked a little bit out of place,” Scott said. "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 little things he has to tweak. But Scotty Pippen Jr. looked really good," he continued.
Shareef and Scotty have been linked together all summer -- considering they are both sons of Hall of Famers and were both signed to the Lakers -- but Byron thinks Scotty is ahead in his development, thanks to the time he spent in college.
"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," Byron said.
"Scotty is NBA ready."
Byron believes anybody overtly critical of Shareef's performance needs to remember that he's overcoming heart surgery ... and is still trying to find his way back physically.
"You should take that into consideration," Byron said. "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."
"And he’s still young. Give 'em a chance!"
Shareef's path to the NBA might be unconventional ... but Byron says he's got the best person possible to get advice from -- his Hall of Fame pops!