It was a major surprise when Mike D’Antoni resigned as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in the off-season. After a long process, the Lakers finally decided to hire former player Byron Scott to lead the Lakers during this difficult period.
With the season nearly one-third over, the Lakers are not where they want to be as a team. The team’s defense is one of the worst in the NBA which is something that Scott hangs his hat on and has continually preached about improving.
The offense, has been about league average as the team excels in some facets while struggling in others.
Kobe Bryant has looked excellent this season, showing he can still score with the best players in the league, but his efficiency has decreased and his minutes are still around the same level as they have always been.
While it is still a very small sample size, we wonder just how good Byron Scott has done as a coach so far this season. So we asked our panel of experts to grade Scott on his job so far. This is what they had to say:
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): I am fully of the belief that 25 games is far too small of a sample size to judge whether or not a coach can be successful in a certain situation.
That being said, I am not really a fan of many things Byron Scott has done so far this year.
I don’t think the team has underperformed by any means. Considering the talent on the roster and the ridiculously difficult schedule, I highly doubt any coach could have this team above .500. But there are some issues that I have with Scott that aren’t related to the roster itself.
His lineups and rotations leave a lot to be desired. The starting lineup is so bad offensively that the team has gotten off to bad starts consistently and the team has to dig itself out of a hole. Putting Kobe on the floor with four negative offensive players is a recipe for disaster.
I’m also not a fan of his handling of Kobe so far. His minutes are still to high and he has a habit of playing Kobe for entire quarters. He also continues to allow Kobe to dominate the ball even to the detriment of the rest of the Lakers.
Lastly, Scott is sometimes to rigid in his subs, taking out players who have the hot hand instead of riding them out when the Lakers are in need of offense.
Overall, I don’t feel like the Lakers have underperformed this season, and Scott could very well be a great coach, but he has shown some bad habits that I don’t care for, and that will need to change in order for the Lakers to improve, even when the roster is better.
Nathan Kim (@Kimchiz): Byron Scott’s performance as head coach so far has been disappointing. Laker fans were expecting Scott to bring some much needed leadership to the head coaching position, something that has been missing for the last few years.
With Kobe Bryant set to make his return as well, fans expected a decent season. Expectations were soon let down as the Lakers plummeted down the standings with every game they lost.
I will say that coaching a team takes time. The Lakers need consistency at the head coaching position. While the current Laker record is disappointing, I still advocate him as head coach. Expectations will always be high with the Lakers and I think that Scott brings a kind of discipline that the Lakers have desperately lacked for the past few years.
It should be noted that the Lakers have started to win more games as a result of significant changes made by Scott. On the flip side, one thing that Scott has not done as head coach of the Lakers is get Kobe to share the ball more.
There are many games where Kobe stops the flow of the offense by trying to do too much. In the games that the Lakers win, everyone is touching the ball. They need everyone to step in and contribute in order to win games. Scott needs to sit Kobe down and emphasize his role as facilitator for the Lakers to win more games.
I think that Scott has been given unfair expectations to live up to. He is certainly not the quick fix that the fans wanted, but he has made some positive changes to the Lakers style of play. Coaching a team takes time and I think that it is too soon to say that Scott is undeserving of the head coach position.
Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): Overall, Scott’s coaching has been good for a team lacking talented stars outside of Kobe Bryant. The first month and a half of the season hasn’t exactly gone the way he had hoped, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing a good job.
Yes, Laker wins have been tough to come by. Even comparing Scott’s record through his first 25 games to Mike D’Antoni’s mark last year would indicate last year’s coach got more out of the team. At the same point last season, the Lakers were floating near .500 with a 12-13 record while Scott has led the team to just eight wins.
Granted the schedule hasn’t been easy for the Lakers. Almost every night it appears the team is going up against a playoff caliber team, but the Lakers haven’t been completely terrible against some of those teams. Last season, it looked like the Lakers were out of games early, but these Lakers are competitive for the most part, even in their losses.
Despite the record, there is still a chance for the Lakers to turn things around. Slow starts are bound to happen for a team thrown together without a head coach. Scott has the team moving in the right direction and the improvements can be seen.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): Byron Scott accepted an impossible job. The odds were completely against him with no one believing he’d be able to immediately turn things around in Los Angeles.
Considering the circumstances, I’d give Scott a C+ up to this point.
Scott will be constantly criticized as long as the team continues to struggle, but he inherited this situation and wasn’t hired until late in the process this past summer. The roster wasn’t catered to his style and therefore it has become that much more difficult to right the ship.
The acquisition of Jeremy Lin to play alongside Kobe Bryant is a perfect example of why things have been difficult. Lin clearly doesn’t fit in Los Angeles with the way the roster has been constructed, but it was the hand that Scott was dealt.
The Lakers are currently sporting an 8-17 record with little hope of making the playoffs. Although the storied franchise is in unfamiliar territory, I believe Scott hasn’t done a bad job thus far.
Lakers 5 on 5 Scrimmage Practice Featuring Mark ‘Mad dog’ Madsen