Byron Scott, in his version of keeping things real, had a week that was tremendous. No, the Lakers didn’t win. That ship sailed when Jim Buss took over the franchise and hired Scott in the first place. Scott is a dinosaur still living in the past but no matter how hard he wants it to be, this isn’t 1984 when Scott replaced Norm Nixon and was hazed, courtesy of Michael Cooper and Magic Johnson. Everything about the league has changed but Scott has stayed the same which is why, when you are judging Scott against himself, his week was extraordinary. By that I mean Scott put just about everybody on blast, keeping nothing to himself, nothing private because Scott thinks a leader means you say the truth to whoever asks.
Monday: Scott told reporters Kobe Bryant had a day off because he was stressing mentally about his slow start. I think the word Scott used was “angry”.
Tuesday: Scott said the reason the Lakers didn’t draft Emmanuel Mudiay ,who looks to be head and shoulders better than D’angelo Russell, is because Mudiay isn’t a point guard.
“I didn’t think he was a guy who made great decisions when we saw him and had him here. I thought that was something he had to learn to do to run that position.”
Now that’s exactly what not to say before you are about to play someone. Just as Scott was wrong about his “no three-point shooting team can win in the playoffs” he was wrong about Mudiay. If this is the Lakers evaluation methodology, you get why they are so miserable. Mudiay can score, rebound, pass and he’s a big dude that can defend. Of course, it helps that Mudiay played professionally last year in China.
Here are the numbers that matter:
|Points||Field Goal Percentage||3-Point Percentage||Assists||Rebounds||Turnovers|
In Tuesday’s game, the 200 pound athletic Denver Nuggets rookie missed his first nine shots. He had 12 points, 10 assists, 2 rebounds, one steal, one block. He had six turnovers and shot 23%. Russell made 27% of his shots, had 7 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnovers.
“Thank you Byron Scott for saying I am not a point guard.” It was the obvious reply for Mudiay post-game.
After Tuesday’s loss, D’angleo Russell complained about not playing late in the fourth quarter in favor of Lou Williams, probably embarrassed that Mudiay played the entire fourth quarter and he didn’t. Translation not needed. Mudiay is better.
Scott’s reply to Russell was critical. “Cut down the mistakes. Continue to run the offense. Do a better job on the defensive end of things. All the little things.”
In essence don’t be a rookie. Don’t be 19. Don’t be in your fourth game of the year and look like it is your fourth game of the year. Don’t be you. Scott later clarified that Russell (or anyone else) has to earn minutes which is very true. In this little spat, Russell came off as a very young 19 year old who hasn’t done anything and is whining about minutes.
But, for his part, Scott has to understand he has a very young player who the organization has labeled a star. Yet he’s treating the so-called star like he’s a second round pick. All this would be fine if Lou Williams was actually performing. But he’s not. He’s a three point shooter who is making 20% of his three point shots.
Wednesday: For some apparent reason no one can figure out, Scott revealed there was an altercation on the bench during the Nuggets game. It was information that didn’t need to be divulged. No one knew of an altercation. No cameras or reporters picked it up, so what is Scott doing?
Scott admitted that Kobe Bryant and Julius Randle weren’t involved. Lou Williams, Tarik Black and Jordan Clarkson were in the game as well. So that leaves Russell as the possible ringleader.
The spat didn’t bother Scott which is why he probably spilled it to the media.
“If they just sat on the bench with a smile on their face, I would’ve been much more concerned. I loved it. It tells me that guys care. If they were smiling or laughing, I would have been pissed.”
Wait a minute. Isn’t Scott always pissed? Isn’t that how old school coaches do it, lead by intimidation. Lakers fans waiting for Scott to get the heave-ho for Tom Thibodeau, don’t hold your breath. Scott is an insider. He’s a Laker through and through. He’ll be given a long leash. Which is good for the media because Scott always has something to say. But it doesn’t bode well for his relationship with D’angelo Russell.
If past behavior is indeed an indication of future behavior, then the Russell/Scott pairing seems to be heading in that same abjectly dark place as Scott’s relationship with Jason Kidd and Baron Davis.
photo via llananba