The Los Angeles Lakers have finally hired a head coach. They have come to terms with Byron Scott on a four-year, $17 million contract, with a team option on the final year of the deal. It’s July 27th and they just hired a coach. I wonder if Scott will make it through that four year deal.
We all know the Lakers were bad last season; they finished with their worst record in franchise history. They only managed to get the 7th pick in the draft which turned into Julius Randle. Kobe signed a big extension and now is making $23 million this season and $25 million next season. The Lakers put together a team without a head coach and that does not make much sense to me.
They interviewed Byron Scott three times before finally offering him a deal. He was a favorite to get the job especially after the other coaches they interviewed accepted other offers. He could have been around to help make some decisions with roster moves. Not having a coach most likely hurt the Lakers during free agency when they missed out on Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol left.
Let’s look at this Lakers roster that has been put together for Byron Scott, a coach who had terrible teams with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The three highest paid players on the Lakers are Kobe Bryant ($23), Jeremy Lin ($14) and Steve Nash ($9). Filling out the roster we have Jordan Hill, Nick Young, Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle, Ryan Kelly, Ed Davis, Xavier Henry, Robert Sacre, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Clarkson. Not exactly a bunch of names people know. This team is filled with a bunch of lottery picks that haven’t figured it out. I don’t see them stopping anyone and they will have trouble putting the ball in the basket unless Kobe transforms to the Kobe of four years ago.
If Kobe Bryant is healthy there is no way the Lakers will tank. Their draft pick is top 5 protected or else it goes to the Suns. As bad as the Lakers were last season they only got the 7th pick and I expect them to be a little better if Kobe is healthy. Outside of the big name free agents I expected the Lakers to make a run after restricted free agents Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe. They had the cap room and didn’t even make an offer. Instead they added Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis.
We know this team will be bad especially in the tough Western Conference. They might be bad for two seasons. What are the Lakers expecting from Byron Scott? Is he really expected to make a playoff push with these guys? Next year they might be able to add some free agents to help but I don’t think that will happen. In two years Kobe’s contract comes off the books and the Lakers will have a lot of cap room to make a run for Kevin Durant.
Coach Scott was a champion as a player, he preaches defense, has a good relationship with Kobe so he sounds like a good choice. However he has dealt with bad rosters before and the results were not good. Will he just be the fall guy as the Lakers stumble for the next two seasons? He did not pick this group of players and he needs time to add some players of his choice. It will be a rough start and he should get the full four years to prove he is worthy of this job.
We all know the Lakers won’t be good any time soon. Coach Scott will do the best he can with this roster but the expectations have to be low. The Lakers will eventually be good again; I hope Byron Scott will get the time to be a part of that process.