The Los Angeles Lakers are becoming the best show in town if you’re interested in a shipwreck of a basketball team, with Byron Scott as the clueless captain and Kobe Bryant as that one worker who does whatever he wants to while destroying the ship bit by bit. Has been for years.
Scott keeps making the world an interesting place. By not trying to help the Lakers develop as a young team sans-Bryant, and by making some of the most idiotic comments in the NBA universe right now. They suggest he really has no clue what’s going on with this team and how to make things better, or he’s simply enjoying his final year as a head coach in the league (he can’t actually land another job after this, can he?) by trolling the media, Lakers players not called Bryant and the entire fanbase, going through a nightmare they never thought possible to last for this long.
Two interesting quotes from Scott over the weekend. One has to do with Bryant and benching him: I would never, never do that. That’s not an option whatsoever. No, that’s not an option. Yeah, why bench a player who has no future on the team, lies about his willingness to make way for the younger generation and is simply hurting the team at every possible level? Maybe because Scott doesn’t like anyone on this team: Our guys get along. They just don’t trust each other on the floor. It has nothing to do with chemistry. They do, I think, enjoy being around each other. They just don’t trust each other completely right now. And that’s a hard thing to deal with when you’re a young team. Guys sometimes want the ball in their hands, they don’t trust making passes to other guys. And we gotta get to a point where the ball just doesn’t stick and it finds open guys.
Nick Young made a comment after their most recent loss regarding a certain player, without naming names. It was Bryant. It was about him shooting and ignoring everyone else. It was about being a team. Players realize these things. They realize the Lakers are being held ransom by one player, who is getting credit from his head coach for things he did up to three years ago. That’s not how you run a basketball team. That’s how you run a corrupt company.
We keep going back to the decision. Not LeBron James, but the Lakers offering Bryant a two-year deal with $48 million on it. Or another decision, not to use the amnesty clause on him. The Lakers thought process was to show they’re loyal to their stars, and maybe thinking that the fans might turn against them in some way, also hurting the franchise financially, if they give up on Bryant. There can be a huge debate about who is the franchise’s best player ever (I think Bryant comes after Magic Johnson, maybe even after Jerry West), but Bryant is as accomplished as you can get in Lakers uniform, probably more than anyone else.
But what did the Lakers get in return? Nothing. Bryant might not be grunting, huffing and puffing in practice anymore because he is no longer capable of showing up players, but he has done enough damage. No meaningful free agent wanted to sign for them while he’s around. Don’t believe Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant who praised Kobe, but never thought twice about signing in Los Angeles. LaMarcus Aldridge was immediately put off by them. Dwight Howard, a player and person with his own set of problems, could have done so much more had he not offended the biggest ego in the NBA just by being present and not folding like everyone else does.
Scott knows he won’t stay for the good years (unless the younger portion of the Buss family continues to show severe incompetence for a very long time), so why not have fun and mess with the current seasons? Scott doesn’t like younger players. He doesn’t like modern players. He doesn’t like new, young players. He doesn’t like a lot of things. But he likes Bryant. He likes his misses, his 0 defense, his inability to make the team better while on the floor. He’ll never bench him, and while focusing on that, he keeps throwing everyone under the bus, not doing a single thing to fix the problems he’s partially to blame for himself.