With the Los Angeles Lakers careening towards a new low for worst record in franchise history for the third consecutive year, many have wondered about the job security of head coach Byron Scott. With five other head coaches already having been fired this season during one of the most tumultuous times in league history for the profession, it's fair to question the apparent safety of a man whose organization was publicly talking about chasing a playoff spot in the preseason, but now sits with the second worst record in the entire NBA.
While it was reported earlier this year that Scott would not be fired during the season, there are also reports that people around the league also don't expect him to make it past this summer. While those sources are certainly entitled to their opinion, it sounds like the Lakers have yet to make up their own minds. Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times reported on Tuesday night that "the franchise seems torn on whether [Scott will] return for the third and last guaranteed year on his contract." He also laid out the reasoning of the two differing factions:
He is expected to coach the rest of this season, and some within the organization wonder what Scott might do with a better roster. The one he has now has produced an 11-44 record, second-worst in the NBA.
Others, however, wonder about the effectiveness of the tough love he administers to the team's many young players.
To be entirely fair to Scott, how bad the Lakers have been this season has not been entirely his fault. Kobe Bryant's poor play and the mistakes of the team's inexperienced young players, among other things, have contributed as well. The "playoff expectations" voiced by the organization during the preseason always rested on basically everything going right for the Lakers, which they decidedly have not. However, Scott is not entirely blameless in things going sideways either.
In addition to the consistent criticism of the team's young players through the media that Bresnahan reports the organization is wary of, his outdated and isolation-centric offensive schemes, a seeming unwillingness to play the team's best lineups, and the apparent belief that there isn't a problem the team can't fix by "manning up" have almost undoubtedly contributed to how badly the team has struggled.
The team probably would like to see what Scott could have done with a better roster, but at this point the public pressure to move on is likely too great for them to ignore. Barring something totally unforeseen Scott will coach the Lakers' final 27 games of the season, but until the event he is actually brought back next season it is probably safe to assume he won't be.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.