The Lakers’ issues go far beyond Byron Scott

Los Angeles Laker head coach Byron Scott makes himself an easy target. He did so once again when speaking with the media on Wednesday, as his team gets set to head out on a five-game road trip.

There are two parts to this: 

  1. What Scott says is incredibly stupid.
  2. It’s not all Scott’s fault.

The head coach is simply following the directive set forth by the organization. Los Angeles didn’t add veterans Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass (currently hurt), and Lou Williams to have them ride the bench and not play. Kobe Bryant isn’t getting paid over $20 million to not play. 

While Scott is a bad coach and shouldn’t be trusted, the Lakers’ issues are much bigger than him. 

The priority of developing first-round picks D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, plus second-year guard Jordan Clarkson, needs to start from the top and trickle down. 


Let’s emphasize one point about the way in which this season has unfolded for the Lakers. Though the season is only nine days old, the inability to register a single victory should speak loudly about the team’s prospects in the Western Conference. Byron Scott could (in his mind) coach as hard and as aggressively as he’s ever coached, in the attempt to win every last game. Yet, if he did that, would this team realistically be able to sniff 40 wins, or even 35? That’s a very hard sell right now. Are the Lakers really going to push up the mountain as desperately as possible with their veterans, or will they begin to see the light?

One more thing has to be said along these lines: On opening night against the Timberwolves, it was natural to give Kobe a moment in what could be the final season opener of his career (who knows?). However, when the Lakers lost that game — to a team playing very young players — the irony was not lost on many in the NBA: The Lakers were not only unprepared to make the playoffs; other teams playing younger players were setting themselves up for the future.

Are the Lakers going to see that they must do the same with D’Angelo Russell and others, now that it’s painfully clear the playoffs are not a realistic goal?


There’s a lack of self awareness within the Lakers about what they should be. It’s the owner, it’s the front office, it’s the coach, it’s Kobe Bryant, it’s everyone. The organization is in alignment on what to do, but the various figures in that structure are making the wrong decision about the direction in which they need to proceed. 

The NBA’s marquee franchise is going to continue to struggle until it accepts who it is and what it has become. 

About Bryan Gibberman

Grew up in New York and transplanted to Arizona. Fan of the Knicks, Jets and Michigan Wolverines. I like writing about basketball because basketball is fun.