The news of the Los Angeles Lakers deciding to part ways with head coach Byron Scott was met with some surprise. It had seemed as if the Lakers were leaning towards keeping Scott around for a third season and Scott himself admits he was blindsided by the news.
Of the things that many did not care for when it came to Scott was his handling of the team’s young players and a seeming unwillingness to give them crucial minutes. He benched D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle after 20 games and even after returning them to the starting lineup, kept them on the bench during crunch time on a number of occasions.
Scott ultimately relented down the stretch of the season and gave the young players clutch minutes regardless of how they played during the game. In an interview with Mark Medina of the LA Daily News, Scott actually regretted that he didn’t play his veterans more:
“If I knew this was coming, I would have played Lou [Williams], Brandon [Bass] and guys like that a whole lot more,” Scott said, referring to his veterans in an interview with this newspaper. “They gave me the best chance to win.”
Scott also spoke about why he was expecting to get a third year with the Lakers, going back to his interviews with the team before being hired in 2014:
“I wasn’t going to sell myself; that’s just not me. But I did bring up the fact that I thought I had at least another year with our discussions that this would be hard the first two or three years,” Scott said. “They asked if I was all right with it and I said, ‘Yeah I am. But are you guys?’ The answer back to me was, ‘Yeah, because we knew this would be tough and it would take a while.’”
It can surely be argued that Scott was put in an extremely difficult position of balancing Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour with attempting to develop the Lakers’ young players. He also never got a roster that had any real chance to compete with the top teams in the NBA and his record with the Lakers reflects that.
At the end of the day, if the front office felt as if Scott was not the coach to lead the Lakers back to prominence it makes the most sense to get rid of him immediately, especially with a top option like Luke Walton available. A couple more wins the veteran players may have gotten wouldn’t have made any difference for Scott if the Lakers didn’t have full belief in him.