Most of you reading this are probably in college or have recent experience in college. And most of you are also fans of the Los Angeles Lakers. So what do the Lakers and college have in common? Byron Scott. Scott is the head coach of the Lakers, but imagine if he was a college professor: his “Rate My Professor” ratings might scare you away from taking his class, but you have to take his class because it fulfills a requirement and is the only class available. You read the ratings and you come to a conclusion that Scott might just be an a**hole, is strict and stubborn, and you are stuck with him for a year. So what advice can we give Scott to help boost his ratings up, so he can become a better professor (coach)?
Let The Students (Players) Be Creative.
We all had that one professor who is stubborn in their way of teaching. They’ll give you a project and you have to do it exactly the way that they want you to do it. No shortcuts and no outside of the box thinking. If you do it differently and figure out ways that are efficient in tackling the project, they will probably penalize you for it (bench you). This is Scott; he won’t let you do things differently because he never had success in doing it that way before. His way is the best way. Scott needs to learn to let that type of thinking go. Players are getting more creative in their own style of play, like a student, they study and practice their craft, and one day a creative spark will come to them that will allow them to see situations differently. If D’Angelo Russell did a no-look between-his-legs bounce pass that led to score, Scott can’t punish him because it wasn’t a “simple” way. Scott needs to foster that type of thinking and encourage it, not only from his players but also most importantly from himself.
Be More Accepting of new Technologies (Analytics).
Let’s face it; Scott is the type of professor who is always asking from his students to set up his power point for him, and it frustrates him so much that he doesn’t use it anymore. “I’m too old-school,” he would say. So the rest of the class suffers through hearing chalk scrapping and clawing against the board, while the next door, the other professor is using laser pointers to teach. We have all heard about how reportedly lacking the Lakers were when it came to using technology to analyze their play. Last season, ESPN.com ranked the Lakers 113th out of 122 among other sport franchises when it came to their use of analytics. I don’t need to be great at math to know that ranking is awful. Scott needs to adapt to what is popular and efficient in today’s world: technology. He doesn’t need to be the master of it, but he just needs to try and surround himself with people who are proficient in analytics. Taking this step forward will make things easier for everyone.
Loosen Up A Bit.
My ideal professor is someone who is chill and understanding, but at the same time knowledgeable. You can’t remake Scott’s stern personality, but it would be nice if he can crack a smile here and there. Scott and Nick Young butted head a little bit last year, Young wanted to enjoy and have fun with his job, and Scott wanted his players to treat their job like a job. One smiled too much, and the other not enough. As I wrote in my last article, the Lakers are coming to Hawaii in a few weeks, hopefully the spirit of aloha will help him mellow down a bit. Maybe he can teach the young fellows a few dance moves here and there.
Byron Scott would not be a perfect professor any more than he will be a perfect coach, and that is okay. Sometimes, you can pick your coaches, and sometimes you can’t. The best that students and players can do is communicate their concerns without fear. Professors won’t be professors if they are not qualified for it, and the same can be said for coaches. They have a position to lead and teach for a reason, sometimes they may be stubborn to change, but they are professionals and with proper communication, one would hope they will listen. And that is all fans can hope for when it comes to Byron Scott’s more frustrating coaching traits.