In a 80-73 loss to the Utah Jazz Jeremy Lin fought his way through back spasms that turned it into one of his weakest performances this season, but this team continues to sink towards new lows due to the abysmal coaching figure, Byron Scott, an expert at doing nothing on the sidelines.
Maybe Lin shouldn’t have played at all, but he did try to play with intensity and aggression. It didn’t always work out, but as it is on most nights for the Lakers, the team looked better with him on the floor, as hindered and limited as he was.
It’s hard to say Jeremy Lin had a good game. Numbers don’t lie, but they don’t always tell the entire truth. Lin scored 2 points on 1-of-8 from the field with 4 assists and 3 steals. The Lakers lost by seven points while he was on the floor.
But what about other things? The opportunities Lin creates for his teammates? The lack of movement that the Lakers’ offense is famous for, which made Lin struggle as the Jazz smartly double teamed him, knowing he’s pretty much the only player on the Lakers that can create good shots for his teammates?
An excellent example of this “phenomenon” happened in the fourth quarter after Lin was pulled out of the game for good. The Lakers couldn’t get a single shot that you’d call “good” or wide open. Contested jumper after contested 3-pointer. With Lin gone from the floor, the ball movement died, and with it the last ounce of creativity on one of the most unintelligent teams in the league.
Not all players understand the game well enough to see through defense weakness. Not everyone gets to know how to move without the ball and make it easier for ball handlers to create good shots for the team. But that is where a coach comes in. A good coach instills those qualities in his players. He talks and teaches motion offense, smart ball movement and prepares them for certain defenses and developing opportunities.
Not Scott. His job this season is to manage (or mismanage to be more accurate) and watch the ship sinking without interfering too much. But the tanking “excuse” just makes it like Scott was set up to fail with bad players. Sure, he doesn’t have the most talented group in the NBA; far from it. But Scott can hide behind the tanking and conceal his incompetence as a head coach from most of the blind media for at least this season and maybe a little while longer.
The Lakers reach 50 losses for a second straight season. A low point for this franchise, that has made so many wrong decisions over the last few years it takes three 1000-word posts to cover them all from start to finish. This season could have been followed by something other than a bitter after taste. Losing should never be the goal of a franchise, but the Lakers prefer basing their future on blind luck than on smart and loyal players, deserving better than the treatment and coaching they’ve received this season.