Things have been rocky since Byron Scott arrived in LA, and it might be time for him to take more of the blame for the Lakers slow start.
Laker fans were quick to turn on Byron Scott, whose rigid and firm attitude can come across as prideful and stubborn. His first season with the Lakers was not a success, as the team lost a record number of games. Many of the teams issues were out of Scott’s control, with a roster decimated by injuries and filled with clashing playing styles. Despite this, fans were unhappy with the way Scott used what was given to him, and it’s starting to look like they were right.
While it’s true that fans can overreact, Byron Scott’s coaching ability is becoming increasingly suspect. This season Scott’s rotations have been consistently poor, with players seemingly pulled from the game as soon as they gain any sort of rhythm. Scott has also been consistently willing to place the blame on his players, and even call them out in the media, but he very rarely admits to being out-coached. The problem with that is, he is almost always out-coached.
The offense Scott has implemented in Los Angeles has been consistently un-watchable, with contested jumpers the main staple of the offense. Scott has proven to be resistant to change, as he has refused to adjust to the motion heavy and pick and roll oriented game plans that are dominating the league. Instead he runs an offense that negates his players strengths by taking the ball out of their hands and reducing movement and screens.
While Byron definitely bears much of the blame for the ineffective offense, the Lakers defense is an even greater blight on his record. As a self-proclaimed defensive coach, the fact that the Lakers have been consistently terrible on that end of the floor speaks volumes about his performance. The Lakers appear to be unprepared for their opponents, allowing players to get to their favorite spots on the floor seemingly at will.
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Byron has also shown his ineptitude through his rotations. The problems began with his doomed attempt to utilize a front court consisting of Brandon Bass and Ryan Kelly. After that experiment failed miserably, Scott has continued to find ways to put flawed groups on the floor.
For instance, Byron Scott has insisted on playing Lou Williams and Marcelo Huertas together regularly. Both of these players are defensive liabilities even when guarding point-guards, let alone guarding bigger two guards. Williams ball dominance also negates much of Huertas’ play making abilities, lessening the squad’s offensive impact. A much wiser decision would be to play Anthony Brown at the shooting guard, giving the squad a stronger defensive presence, and a shooter who does not demand the ball.
Scott’s rigidity has also negatively impacted his team. The team has largely been joyless so far, with few highlights and little excitement. The team, particularly the young players, appear more concerned with avoiding mistakes than taking over the game. This is the opposite of how players are best developed, as making mistakes is an important part of the learning process. However, this becomes more difficult when players are concerned about being benched for mistakes that the coach consistently allows veterans to get away with.
Byron Scott has consistently sacrificed the development of his young players in pursuit of “wins”. Despite the fact that the Lakers are 1-7 to start the season, Scott continues to bench young players in favor of flawed veterans. After receiving criticism for benching Russell at the end of games, Byron continued his poor decision making by benching Clarkson, arguably the best player on the team, down the stretch. These choices are denying the Lakers young guards valuable crunch time experience. In place of Clarkson, Scott played Lou Williams, who failed to hit rim on the Lakers final shot Wednesday night, setting up the Magic’s game winner.
That play actually encapsulated Scott’s tenure as the Lakers coach. In a crucial situation, where the Lakers had an opportunity to get a win, Scott was given the opportunity to draw up a play. With the score tied, the ball was inbounded to Russell, who then gave up the ball to Lou Williams. Williams was isolated for the rest of the play, battling the tough defense of Elfrid Payton before missing badly on a jumper. In a situation in which coaches can truly show their creativity and acumen, Scott’s best offering was an isolation play from the top of the key.
Byron Scott has been poor in almost every facet of the game during his time as the head coach of the Lakers. He has made consistent mistakes and shown no willingness to take responsibility for those mistakes and learn from them. The Lakers need a coach willing to adapt and improve, and Scott refuses to do either. It’s time for the front office to realize what the fans have known for quite some time, Byron Scott is quickly wearing out his welcome.
What do you think about Byron Scott’s ineffectiveness as coach of the Lakers? Let us know in the comments below.