It's no secret Byron Scott is on the hot seat after finishing with the worst record in Los Angeles Lakers franchise history for the second year in a row. With only three games left in this disappointing season, Scotts' record with the Lakers in his two seasons as head coach is 37-122. Only the Philadelphia 76ers have a worse record in that same span. Byron's career record of 453-645 in his 15 seasons as a head coach with the Nets, Hornets and Cavaliers is not much better than his time with the Lakers, which has led many to believe it's time for the franchise to move on.
Although his record is second-worst among active coaches to only Kurt Rambis, Scott has shown that he can coach in the NBA and more importantly he can coach point guards. Byron helped lead the New Jersey Nets to back-to-back Finals appearances along side Jason Kidd in 2002 and 2003 where they lost to the Lakers and Spurs, respectively.
In 2005 when he was the coach of the New Orleans Hornets, he helped Chris Paul win rookie of the year and had at least some part in developing him into one of the best point guards in the NBA today. He later helped Kyrie Irving win rookie of the year in 2011 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has proven that he can develop point guards, but this is a "what have you done for me lately" league and Byron hasn't done much for the Lakers lately.
General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss haven't given Byron much to work with. He's been given a handful of young players mixed with old veterans that don't fit well together, along with Kobe Bryant in his farewell tour. That's not an easy situation to win in. For what he's been given, Byron hasn't done such a bad job. Some would argue that Scott hasn't had a real chance at coaching this team, dealing with all the drama surrounding Kobe Bryant's farewell tour.
He's been asked to develop the young players; Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell. All of them have improved greatly over the course of the season. He was also asked to keep Kobe healthy throughout the entire season, or healthy enough to make it on the court, which barring any disaster in these last three games Byron has also done.
Did he really help keep Kobe healthy? Or is that just Kobe being Kobe? Did Byron have anything to do with the development of Randle, Russell and Clarkson, or was it all on their talent? Fans have argued that Byron did nothing but hold them back for half the season by not letting them play 30 minutes a night, and only put Kobe at risk playing him 35 minutes in a game at times.
I think everyone remembers the incident at the All-Star festivities when Clarkson and Russell were asked about Byron Scott and Clarkson told Russell under his breath, "don't say anything crazy." If the players that are supposed to be the future of the Lakers franchise going forward can't stand Byron, then it might be a good idea for the Lakers front office to find someone that can relate better with younger players.
It is well known that Byron Scott is an "old school" coach. Well that school doesn't exist anymore, there are no more Kobe Bryant's. Players don't share Scott's attitude anymore and he might not relate to this younger generation. Along with being "old school" and not really being able to connect with the young players, no one would call Byron Scott a great "x' s and o's" coach.
At this point, no one thinks there is any chance Byron Scott is going to be the Lakers long-term coach. But if the front office can't hire a coach they are completely convinced is going to be the long-term coach that can develop these young players and lead them back to championship contention, should they fire Byron Scott for another temporary place holder? What is the point of going through a coaching change to go through another coaching change in two or three years? The Lakers need to get out of the coaching carousel that they are currently in. They have had three coaches in the last five years; first Mike Brown, then Mike D'Antoni and now Byron Scott.
It's time to hire a head coach that can relate and grow with our young players. A perfect example is Brad Stevens, head coach of the Boston Celtics. I hate Boston as much as any Lakers fan, but Stevens is a great young coach that is only going to get better with time, along with his young players. The front office doesn't need to hire someone young like Stevens, just someone relatable. The question of whether Byron Scott should stay might have a clear answer, but ultimately the real question might be whether it's time to change who is hiring the coaches rather than the man in the suit on the sidelines.
All stats per basketball reference. You can follow this author on Twitter @bryantfreese