The Los Angeles Lakers took their time last summer finding a head coach last summer, and ended up taking a popular name within the organization. Coach Byron Scott spent time as a player winning championships with the Lakers, and was well-liked by some of his more famous teammates. He was a mentor to Kobe Bryant early on, and has had success in the past, making two Finals appearances. But his first season did not go well, and there are several intriguing head coaches available that make this a very important season for Coach Scott.
Last year, the Lakers had to deal with a ton of injuries and a lack of talent compared to other teams. It was unlikely that they were going to compete for a playoff spot, even if Bryant and Steve Nash were healthy. A lot of things needed to fall into place, and the Western Conference was just too deep. Instead, the Lakers were forced to put in a variety of players depending on who was healthy, as they limped to the finish.
There were many questions about Scott’s coaching in his first season, and it started in training camp. He focused a lot on conditioning and made it tough for his players, although it is hard to fault him as plenty of coaches want to instill discipline and toughness into their players from the start. But as the season started, he let the team’s best player, Bryant, play a high amount of minutes despite suffering several recent injuries as well as dealing with all the mileage on his body. He also let Bryant stall the offense way too often and put up any shot that he wanted.
However, when Bryant went down, the lack of talent was too much for Scott to overcome, as the team looked bad on both sides of the ball. Their defense was poor, from rotations, to staying in front of players one-on-one, to a lack of rim protection. Offensively there was some promise, but there wasn’t much flow and too often players would simply go one-on-one without proper ball movement beforehand.
It is hard to blame Scott for the team’s misfortune, and he did do his part to play the younger players and put the team in a good position to keep their draft pick. He also got a lot of players to play hard whenever they stepped on the court, something that can be difficult to do. Most of them were playing on one-year deals, but he still expected a lot from them, and they did not lose games because of a lack of effort. Scott will likely have a tighter leash this season, as even though the team might not be a contender, management will want to see development from their youth. If they feel like the team is not headed in the right direction, then there are several quality options out there who could take Scott’s spot.