Like David Blatt, Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott Was Doomed from the Start

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have the second-worst record in the league, own the NBA’s worst defense since Dec. 1, and have long been destined to test their fate in the lottery, where ping-pong balls will decide whether they keep their 2016 first-round pick. 

At the center of all their turmoil is Byron Scott, whose record in 15 years as an NBA head coach is 446-620. Eight years ago, he won a Coach of the Year award leading Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets to a 56-win season.

Today, no coach has made life harder for himself. From his head-scratching decisions to bench D’Angelo Russell in fourth quarters, to L.A.’s nightly brand of lackadaisical transition defense, it’s all his fault—even when it isn’t. 

All this begs the question: Is Scott truly out of touch with modern NBA trends, or is he a victim of circumstance, handcuffed to the circus that is Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour and a miscast, inexperienced roster?  

Scott's specific situation is miles from what David Blatt experienced with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but both coaches were placed in challenging environments they couldn't control. If LeBron James never signed with Cleveland, there's a very strong chance Blatt would still be there today, but several factors—including unreasonably high expectations—led to his downfall. 

Game tactics and strategy aside, the parallels between Blatt and Scott make for an interesting conversation, and both struggled to adapt.

"Sometimes you don’t understand what guys are looking for, what owners are looking for, what general managers are looking for," Scott said. "So I feel bad for David, he’s a great guy. From the outside looking in, you try to figure out what didn’t he do, or what did he do, I guess in this case, that was so wrong that he got fired."

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