Byron Scott’s Overriding Faith in Kobe Bryant Has Lakers on Brink of Fracture

LOS ANGELES — After Mike Brown and Mike D'Antoni, the Los Angeles Lakers needed a leader of men.

With his poised posture, authoritative calm and championship heritage, Byron Scott undoubtedly has leadership skills.

All that won't matter one bit, however, if Scott doesn't lead one man in particular.

Scott must lead Kobe Bryant if he wants the others to follow. Not just get along. Not just offer license and liberty. Lead.

And Scott's ledger on that front so far is as bad as the Lakers' one-win record under him, the worst 10-game start in franchise history.

A great relationship, which is what the longtime Byron-Kobe bond is supposed to be, isn't about the parties being agreeable. The beauty in it should be the honesty in questions and answers, one teaching the other what he doesn't even know he doesn't know…and smiles growing over both faces in appreciation for an undeniably greater growth.

That's how opposites attract and tough love works.

And in this case of a coach and a player, the former also must have clear authority over the latter.

Yet Scott trusts Bryant so much more than anyone else on this low-rent Lakers roster that it has become impossible for the others to feel properly respected. Of course, you don't coach everyone the same in this business, but you have to coach everyone in a way that feels equitable enough so that an actual team is built.

To Scott's credit, the Lakers' 136-115 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night has him contemplating going back to the drawing board for new methods—including publicly holding Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill accountable for substandard defensive efforts.

Scott lit into the team at halftime about that lack of effort—and the Lakers proceeded to surrender 41 third-quarter points on 60.9 percent field-goal shooting. A 19-point halftime deficit swelled to...

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