Jeremy Lin and Byron Scott: The Lakers Odd Couple


When the Lakers acquired Jeremy Lin via trade in the offseason, Byron Scott and management said all the right things. But when the smoke cleared, Lin was obtained for Houston’s draft pick and he’s never been a great fit on the Lakers. It’s unfair to blame Lin or Scott fully since they both have roles in the divide so let’s look at what each party could do better:

What went wrong:

Byron Scott is an old-school coach who revisits his “showtime” days as a player with the Lakers often. This was around the time Lin was born and he’s much more a freestyle ballplayer who prefers less structure. Scott needs to work his offensive scheme around the talent he has on the team and in Lin’s case, he should have been able to run more pick and roll sets with Ed Davis, his favorite target.

Scott tended to pick on Lin and Nick Young to the media, but while Young and Scott would talk and laugh it off, Lin decided to stand his ground and create even more distance between him and coach. Lin got opportunities to start, but was beaten out by journeyman Ronnie Price and rookie Jordan Clarkson. Scott probably should have let Lin come off the bench to solidify his role, yet with Lin’s inconsistent play it’s hard to say where he fits.

What could have been done differently:

Scott and Lin have proven they are one-dimensional. Determined to do things their way, compromise was needed from both parties. Scott needs to loosen the leash on Lin’s play while Lin needs to learn how to adapt to different systems. If the Lakers didn’t have season ending injuries to so many players, the starting team would have been a slower, methodical lineup which Lin would have done better coming off the bench with the likes of Davis, Nick Young and Wayne Ellington.

As a point guard, Lin should look to set other guys up rather than depend on dribble penetration for his only way to contribute. Lin is a decent shooter, but is more effective driving to the hole or as a spot up shooter. When Lin shoots off the dribble, it usually comes up short and results in an opponent’s fast break opportunity. From a leadership standpoint, the Princeton offense isn’t a good fit for the Lakers current roster. None of the big men are solid back-to-the-basket scorers, so it’s up to the guards to drive the lane, hit spot up shooters and set up post guys near the rim. If the Lakers were in attack mode more often, Jordan Hill, Tarik Black and Davis would gobble up offensive rebounds and get easy put-backs.

The verdict

Overall we can speculate what could have been done differently, but here’s a thought: if Lin leaves in free agency, was he really a part of the Lakers future to begin with? Lin will find a new gig somewhere else and Scott will get an improved roster. There was never any chemistry between Scott and Lin, so let’s just chalk it up to a bad “fit.” What do you think?

Next: Byron Scott to Miss the Next Two Games