Nick Young not being the biggest fan of Byron Scott isn’t a big secret, or a surprise. While employed as head coach of the Lakers, Scott would constantly fine Young for getting into the locker room late while either yanking him around in the rotation, benching him entirely, or criticizing him in the media (and sometimes all of those things at once).
Young’s play also suffered under the Lakers’ former head coach, and his explosion into one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA this season has (41.3 percent from deep) has not only saved his career, but led to him getting invited to participate in the NBA’s three-point contest during All-Star weekend in New Orleans.
Ahead of his participation in Saturday’s event, Young took some time to speak with Mark Medina of the Orange County Register for a feature on his career revival, and couldn’t have made it more clear what he thinks of his old coach:
When the NBA hosts its 3-point shooting contest as part of All-Star Weekend on Saturday at Smoothie King Center, Young will become the third Lakers player to participate in the event after Byron Scott (1987, 1988) and Michael Cooper (1987). Young didn’t miss an opportunity to take a jab at the former Lakers coach, who he frequently clashed with over playing time and public criticisms.
“I might pick Cooper’s brain,” Young said of his contest preparation. “But I don’t know if Byron would tell me the right thing to do.”
Earlier this week, he largely credited the support of Lakers coach Luke Walton for his being asked to participate in NBA All-Star Weekend for the first time in his 10th NBA season.
“With having a coach behind me, I don’t have to look over my shoulder or worry about coming out. That plays a major part,” said the 31-year-old Young, who grew up a Lakers fan and attended championship parades while starring at Cleveland High of Reseda and USC. “It messes up with your whole cycle when you have a coach who harps on everything you do and talks so down on you. It was tough.”
Reading quotes like this, and seeing Young play this year, it’s clear how toxic of an effect Scott’s coaching style had on Young. Whether one agrees with Young putting his dissatisfaction out in public like this is a different matter, but he’s only stating the obvious after he posted arguably the two worst seasons of his career under Scott.
These quotes certainly won’t be going on the flap of Scott’s upcoming book on success and leadership.
All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.