It's been a while since I last posted here on Silver Screen and Roll, and the last time you heard from me, I'd had enough. It was time for the Los Angeles Lakers to fire Byron Scott, and I really didn't think anyone could deny it anymore. That was back in November. Part of why I haven't written in so long is there isn't really anything left to say -- it's a joke that the Lakers continue to employ Byron Scott. His reign as Lakers head coach has been nothing short of disastrous, and might be setting a new low for NBA coaches.
Scott is horrible from an X's and O's perspective, he has no consistent defensive scheme in place, he has alienated the young Lakers core, and he's seemingly just along for the ride on the Kobe farewell tour.
Among the chief concerns of Scott's tenure, his mishandling of D'Angelo Russell is at the top of the list. To say that the talented rookie is not on the same page as Byron would be an understatement. On Tuesday night, Byron pulled Russell the last two minutes of the game (in a one possession game). When asked why, Scott said he sat him because he thought he was "trying to take over the game."
This is so mind-numbingly stupid that I'm not even sure where to start. Byron consistently has chastised Russell through the media about "manning up" (because frequently complaining about a 19-year-old's performance through the media is an incredibly manly thing to do) and frequently discusses the importance of aggressiveness, yet when a player tries to "take over the game," this is a bad thing?
For the life of me, I can't come up with a good reason for why the Lakers have not pulled the plug yet. Scott is clearly doing significantly more harm than good. At this point, I'm fairly convinced making the head coach a turtle wearing a monocle placed on a stool would be more beneficial than having Byron continue to oversee this young core.
Then again, I never did figure out why he was hired in the first place. We all knew what he was. Those of us that paid any semblance of attention to his previous coaching tenures did, anyway. The only plausible explanation I can think of is that, once they struck out on the major free agents (whom they almost assuredly were trying to pitch the idea of choosing their coach), the Lakers were content with keeping Kobe happy and letting him pick his farewell tour coach. In any case, it would appear the front office severely underestimated the toxic environment that Byron was able to create.
But back to the original question -- why is Byron Scott still the coach of the Lakers? Coming off a franchise-worst 21-win season in 2015, and after adding a decent amount of legitimate NBA talent in the offseason (Williams, Hibbert, Bass, Russell, a healthy Randle, a healthy Kobe) the Lakers are currently on pace to win somewhere between 15 and 16 games. That's about half of the Vegas over/under win total coming into the season (29.5), which we debated in the preseason.
Perhaps the Lakers just want to wait to deal with this issue in the offseason. Maybe they don't want the firing of a coach to detract in any way from this awful Kobe farewell tour, which has had some nice and touching moments, but mostly has been filled with Kobe playing basketball so poorly, you'd prefer to forget it's the same guy that once regularly torched opponents. As I've already argued, they should be acting sooner rather than later on this. My faith in the Lakers' front office continues to wane with each passing moment. It's past time for them to get going on damage control.
Every single day this disaster goes on, the Lakers become more and more of a joke. Unfortunately for us all, it's just not a very funny one.