The twilight years of Kobe Bryant in the NBA are also the worst in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers. Coached by the incompetent Byron Scott, the duo, with the people running the team from the front office, have their fingerprints all over a record breaking season in all the wrong ways.
With eight games to go in the 2015-2016 season, the Lakers are 15-59, more likely to stay on that number than get anywhere near 20 wins or rise a bit above their awful situation. Their most recent loss, 123-75 against the Utah Jazz signals another low point for the proudest franchise of all in this league. The Jazz had a 53-point lead at one point and never looked like they’re feeling sorry for Bryant, despite giving him a proper send off before and after the game.
Bryant? He looks like he doesn’t care. Every game for him is an opportunity to wave to the fans as he plays his last games in different arenas and cities. Sometimes he’s OK. Sometimes he’s awful. Like in the loss to the Jazz. Scott said Bryant insisted to defend Rodney Hood as the former Duke player went on an 11-for-13 from the field, 30-point run in the first half. Scott did what he does best: Suck up to Bryant, praising him for a bad job (Bryant had 5 points on 1-for-11 from the field) while throwing the rest of his teammates under the bus.
Scott said after the game that he’s worried about the team not competing and it’s lack of pride in the game. He also said he doesn’t care if it’s a 48-point loss or by one point. He’s still pissed off. And Scott knows a lot about losing. He’s 36-120 with the Lakers in almost two full seasons, and combined with his three failed Cleveland years, Scott has a record of 100-286 since being fired by the New Orleans Hornets. That’s 286 times of being pissed off, according to his own words.
At this point, with Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell turning in awful games, it’s hard to believe they have any motivation left when it comes to playing for their coach. Scott was supportive of Jordan Clarkson last season but has shown zero will to somehow say a good thing or two about his younger players. You know, the guys the Lakers need to pull them out of this mess, created by some dumb thinking up in the ivory tower, but mostly due to the inability to cut ties with Bryant when it was possible, and hitching the wagon to a player who cares mostly about himself, pushes away potential free agents and connected well with a head coach to create a duo that doesn’t let anything grow next to them.
Maybe everyone is getting emotional and nostalgic with every day that goes by and puts us closer to Bryant retiring. However, even in Souther California, a lot of champagne bottles are going to be opened the moment Bryant has officially played his final game. It means the Lakers, who won a lot with Bryant in the past but have lost a lot too quite recently, are finally free to actually build a team, instead of doing their best to keep an aging, declining superstar happy.