The Lakers are a bad team with a record of 2-12, I don’t think anyone expected them to be this horrible. It’s not the losses that most fans are disappointed though, it is how they are losing. The Lakers appear to lack preparation, adjustment, and execution. The Lakers right now suck at anything basketball related as ranking 29th in offensive efficiency and 28th in defensive efficiency. The person most responsible for that is Byron Scott.
I’m not sure how long Lakers management will keep Scott, but we’re stuck with him for now. The Lakers are not an easy problem to fix, but here are some simple modifications I would like to see Byron Scott to implement for the team to start playing better.
Treat Kobe Bryant like a normal basketball player
We all know how great and dominant Kobe used to be, but sadly, that version of him will never come back. Scott has to accept that Kobe isn’t the same player as before and not wait for him to be great again. Kobe is not even an average player anymore, he is far below it. According to Basketball Reference, Kobe has the worst true shooting percentage in history of players to take 16 or more field goal attempts per game since the institution of the three-point shot. Yes, Kobe has earned the privilege to be considered as one of the greatest Lakers of all-time, but that doesn’t permit him to jack up wild shots. A coach should be one who critiques and puts his players in the best position to succeed and Scott is doing neither. Instead Scott is justifying Kobe’s horrible shot selections based on his reputation and accomplishments. Byron may think that he is doing the right thing for Kobe by allowing him to be himself, but so far it has not helped. Kobe doesn’t need a friend to tell him to keep on shooting, he needs a coach to tell him he is not good anymore and show him how he can be effective.
Play the young guys
This can’t be overstated enough. The Lakers’ season is not about wins or losses; it is about the development of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Anthony Brown, Larry Nance, Jr. and Tarik Black. It makes no sense for Scott to not play them in a blow out game in the fourth quarter, but instead play Nick Young and Metta World Peace. Minutes are valuable in any learning experience and for them to be withheld from players who could benefit from them is baffling. Byron doesn’t see the value in playing young players in a blowout game, but D’Angelo Russell sees things differently. Russell is only 19, I’m pretty sure he is capable of playing more than 25 minutes and it should not be this hard to play your young players in a meaningless season.
Change it around
If the schemes and game plans are not working, then you have to change it up. The Lakers are being outplayed and Byron Scott is being outcoached, and in order for the former to get better the latter must improve first. The Lakers’ rotations and schemes are so predictable that I don’t think other teams even have to watch film on them. Scott is too stubborn to make adjustments during the game therefore he put his players in a position to fail. The blame is ultimately on him.
Byron Scott has never blamed himself for the Lakers’ shortcomings. He has never taken fault and accountability for his actions. Instead of taking the responsibility for being outcoached, he blames his players and tells them to “man up”. The only person that needs to “man up” is himself. A true leader is one who is humble in the presence of success and accountable for his failures. Byron Scott will never be a good coach if he doesn’t see any improvements for him to make. The first step to refining yourself is accepting your flaws and Byron is yet to do that.
I’m not trying to blame this season entirely on Bryon Scott, but he does deserve criticism for the above issues. I hope Scott takes the Thanksgiving break away from basketball to reassess his performance as a NBA head coach. I hope he acknowledges his faults and starts being a coach. That is all anyone can ask of him.