Former Lakers guard and ex-Nets, Hornets and Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott isn’t considered by many to be the frontrunner for the Los Angeles Lakers’ head-coaching opening, which is probably why Scott is taking a novel approach to his candidacy. Scott, who played for the Lakers during three of the team’s championship runs in the 1980s and played alongside Kobe Bryant when Kobe was a rookie, recently interviewed for the gig with Laker general manager and former teammate Mitch Kupchak.
I am the perfect guy for this job. I’ve got a great relationship with Kobe. I know the team, know the roster, watched them all season long. And I just think it would be a great fit.
Obviously, if I get the job, [I'll have] the first conversation with Kobe. We have to talk about the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. We have to also talk about the type of direction we’re going to be taking and also talk about the type of game that he’s going to be playing, because he’s going to have to change his game a little bit, and I think he knows that. We’ve got to sit down and talk about the minutes and things like that. We’ve just got to come to an agreement. But he knows me. I’m an old-school type guy, old-school type guy. And I want him to understand that, and I think he does understand that. We communicate during the summer by text, and every now and then, I’ll run into him somewhere and we’ll talk a little bit more about basketball. But I think the biggest thing is, No. 1, I respect the hell out of Kobe, and I think he respects me. That’s the first hurdle you’ve got to get past, and then other things, we’ll solve all those little issues.
“I am the perfect guy for this job,” and immediately shaking a stick at Kobe Bean Bryant to change his game as he takes to the winter of his career. Some huevos, right there.
Scott has been to two NBA Finals as coach and won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award in 2008, but he wasn’t exactly highly regarded after stints in New Jersey, New Orleans and Cleveland. His most recent Cavaliers teams failed to improve or compete on his watch, and as a result Scott’s stock seems pretty low even in comparison to candidates like Steve Kerr or Derek Fisher, ex-players with no coaching experience.
It bears pointing out Scott isn’t exactly exclaiming that he has the Lakers job in the bag. He’s just showing confidence in his familiarity with the franchise, the general manager and the team’s star player.
Still, getting into X's and O's already in discussing a job you don’t have? When all signs seem to be pointing to the Lakers’ gig probably being Derek Fisher’s to lose? At best, it’s a unique approach. At worst, it’s a little brusque and unseemly.
Of course, Scott has nothing to lose. He’s hardly been on anyone’s radar as talk of filling coaching vacancies (there are still five coaching vacancies to be filled, not counting Dave Joerger’s likely eventual departure in Memphis), his work in Cleveland didn’t exactly set the NBA on fire, and in a way the recent job interview seems more like a favor to an old friend and teammate than it does a swift move to bring Scott back to the sidelines. With nobody talking you up, you might as well do as best you can to end the silence.
Is Scott the perfect man for the job? It’s true that he is some 18 years removed from mentoring Kobe, but with the Lakers’ rotation and draft questions still unsorted, no real candidate can truly call himself the right man for the job at this point. Would it be beneath Scott to work as a sage voice on Fisher’s (an ex-teammate, as well) staff? This may have been what Kupchak was sniffing out.
That’s some chutzpah, Byron Scott. Let’s see how things turn out.
More NBA coverage:
- - - - - - -