There's a stereotype that NBA players don't try, what with their giant, guaranteed contracts and love of parties. They are overpaid, ungrateful slobs, or something, and they could learn a thing or two about classic American gumption and grit.
That's a common perception, at least -- most NBA observers don't believe it's actually true, or at least can't talk about it for fear of losing their jobs. So it should come as something of a surprise when a coach says players around the league need to work harder.
But that's exactly what Byron Scott said about his Cavs and other teams. Waiting for Next Year has the story:
Though Scott is clear in his assertion that he should not have to remind certain players to give full effort, he admits that it is becoming more and more prevalent within the entire NBA.
"Around this league, it's like that," said Scott on Monday afternoon. "I'm sure I'm not the only coach that has to tell his guys that they have to go out and play hard every single night, ‘We have to compete tonight' and things like that. I talk to other coaches and it's almost universal, which is kind of weird. To me, that should be a part of your job, to compete and play hard every single night."
It sounds like Scott is saying today's players don't try like they did in his era, which also could be construed as the belief that the '80s were a golden age of basketball. Hey, someone with the Cavs has finally found common ground with LeBron James(notes)! We did it, guys!
I am relatively young and am not in a position to pass judgment on whether players worked harder now or 25 years ago. However, I do know that when I watch games, I see a lot of players working their tails off to win games. Some don't, certainly, but I'm sure the same was the case when Scott was suiting up for the Showtime Lakers.
Coach Scott wants his players to work harder, and that's understandable. But he -- and we -- shouldn't take a coach's motivational tactic as proof that players today need an energy boost. Every coach at every level asks his players to give all they've got. The best way to judge the true differences between players of different eras is by watching the tape.
- Byron Scott