The Los Angeles Laker lost to the Utah Jazz 123-75 on Monday night in a game where they were never really close after the opening buzzer. The 48-point margin of defeat was tied for the worst loss in the history of the franchise, tying the team's loss to the Clippers on March 6th, 2014, according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News.
All things considered, the game was a pretty crappy birthday gift for Lakers head coach Byron Scott, who turned 55 on Monday. According to Basketball Reference, the loss broke Scott's tie with Kevin Loughery for most games under .500 by an NBA head coach, meaning Scott now stands alone at the bottom of the head coaching record books.
A night after admitting he might sound like a broken record, Scott proceeded to play his "greatest hits" once again. His newest and most inauspicious record did not stop the head coach from questioning everything about his team, from their effort to if they have what it takes to call themselves Lakers:
Lakers coach Byron Scott, who didn't have the greatest birthday Monday, on pride: pic.twitter.com/PLYSXT7PBp— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) March 29, 2016
Byron: "I hope they do a little soul searching & think about what happened. Sometimes it just comes down to having some pride." (on TWCSN)— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) March 29, 2016
Byron Scott said Kobe "wanted to take the challenge" of stopping Hood. "It's a damn shame that our oldest player has to take the challenge."— Bill Oram (@billoram) March 29, 2016
The problem with these criticisms is that in addition to the inauspicious records above (and barring an unforeseen win streak), Scott will have now sat at the helm of a Lakers team setting a new low for worst record in franchise history for the second consecutive year.
That's not all. According to Basketball Reference,the Lakers are also on pace to have the worst defensive efficiency in franchise history after Scott's 2014-15 Lakers were the third worst team in Lakers history by that metric. The coach that came if preaching that he would fix the team's defense has failed to do so by any metric, and while some of that is attributable to the Lakers' roster, some blame also lays at the feet of the coaching staff.
The Lakers still make the same mistakes covering pick-and-rolls, they still seem to lack a continuous strategy on defending most sets in general. The team posted their best defensive rating for a whole month in November, per NBA.com. While it hasn't been a straight downward descent since then, it's pretty much impossible to argue that they've improved over the course of the year:
The Lakers posted their best defensive rating of the season in the first month pic.twitter.com/GH3w3KPilx— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) March 29, 2016
Stats like this are why it's hard to take Scott's criticisms of his team's intangibles seriously. It would be one thing if he had shown the ability to make adjustments over the course of the year, but instead he's just had the same effort based criticisms game after game. If the only thing wrong with the team is how hard they're trying, then he's quite simply failed to get them to change that.
There are eight games left in the Lakers season. It's hard to see the campaign hitting a lower point than this loss to the Jazz, but it's also entirely possible the team will channel their inner Nick Van Exel and end their huddles with "Cancun!" by the merciful end of this lost season.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.