Lakers Take Forever, Go Around in Circles, and Goof-Up

Back in April when Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers parted ways, the front runner for the newly vacant coaching spot immediately became Byron Scott. After months of speculation, with names from George Karl to Kurt Rambis to Mike Dunleavy to Brian Shaw to Mike Krzyzewsk to Tom Thibodeau and everyone in between being bandied about, lo and behold, the powers that be, i.e. Jim Buss, have come full circle, as if there ever really was any doubt, and Kobe Bryant’s one and only choice is the new Lakers’ coach, …. Byron Scott.

Big mistake, unless Jimmy was looking for a fall guy.

As I've said recently, the moves the Lakers have made this off season assure them of a worse year than last year, and no new coach short of Phil Jackson or Red Auerbach could have changed that. The roster going forward now is far less talented than what they had a year ago at this time, and the only possible improvement is in the hope that Kobe is healthy and will be some semblance of the player he was prior to his Achilles and knee injuries. A year older,
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rusty, and playing to stay out of last place does not in and of itself seem to promote much motivation, but that is Kobe, and he will be playing to keep his buddy Scott employed.

I’ve never been a fan of Scott – I thought he was way overrated as a player, and a close examination of his coaching record shows little recent success to rely upon. A decade ago in his first coaching spot with New Jersey, he and his team blew away expectations, and came close to one and even two NBA titles. So, what went so horribly wrong that a half a

season after getting to the NBA Finals for the second consecutive year and with his team in first place in its division, he was fired at mid-season? The word then was that it was because he and his star player, Jason Kidd, did not get along.

He then took over at New Orleans, and suffered through three horrible losing seasons. The next two years saw much improvement and two playoff appearances, but they were short-lived, and again, early the next season, this time very early, he was fired. From there, he moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the suddenly LeBron-less team, despite Scott’s “expert” leadership, was a disaster, playing at a .278 clip (64-166) over three seasons. Included in that was the longest losing streak an NBA team had ever endured. Three

seasons were three too many for Dan Gilbert, and he was again fired, making him a perfect three for three: Three coaching jobs, and fired from all three.

So, this is the professional coach the Lakers took so long to
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find? His credentials for the the job include reasonable success with a team a decade ago, and his friendship with Kobe Bryant. The current Lakers’ roster and Scott are a match made in heaven. I don’t think they’ll win 30 games this coming season, but that relationship will keep him employed for at least the first two years of his four-year, $17 million contract. If Kobe’s current two year deal is in fact his last, don’t bet on Scott staying much longer, either.

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