Tuesday Reading: Hardwood Hype on Byron Scott

Darius Soriano —  October 18, 2011

We love looking back at past eras and players here at FB&G. Whether celebrating the many legends or critical role players that have donned the Laker colors, it’s always nice to go back in time and remember the accomplishments of those that contributed so much to the success of the Laker franchise.

And in that vein, Emile Avanessian of Hardwood Hype has put together a must read piece on Byron Scott. An excerpt to wet your palette:

Though beloved in Lakerland, nationally Scott is remembered more as a role player, fortunate for the circumstance in which he found himself, than as one of the best offensive guards of the 1980s.

The 9,053 points he scored in his first seven NBA seasons (1983-84- 1989-90) qualified Scott as one of the NBA’s ten most prolific backcourt scorers during that stretch. Of that group, only four players- Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Rolando Blackman and Scott- shot better than 50% from the field. In terms of True Shooting Percentage, only the aforementioned trio, along with Dale Ellis, equaled Scott’s 56.2% mark.

Of the ten best scoring guards of the era, only Sleepy Floyd (20.7% Usage Rate) required the ball less frequently than Scott (21.6%), and only Jeff Malone (8.9% Turnover Rate) and Ellis (10.1%) turned the ball over less frequently. And while he was hardly a box score stuffer in the mold of Magic, Scott ranked in the top third of starting guards in steals (15th), defensive rebounds (14th) and total rebounds (16th).

Not the top pick in the draft like three of his fellow starters, Scott arrived in the NBA as a blue-chip prospect in his own right. A McDonald’s All-American out of Inglewood’s Morningside High in 1979, he was selected fourth overall out of Arizona State by the San Diego Clippers in the 1983 draft, and cost the Lakers (who, in fairness, also needed to clear the PG spot for Magic) an All-Star guard in Norm Nixon.

I know, I know. Scott got to play with Magic, and Magic made everyone better. This is irrefutable. Even in the context of his own team, however, Scott is omitted from the top tier of contributors. He’s remembered more as a first-class passenger than a vital cog in the engine.

Emille offers up much more to properly frame Scott’s time as a Laker and I suggest you take the time to go read the entire article. Not only does it give proper credit to a vital part to one of the great eras of Laker basketball, but it includes one of the best clips of Scott filling the lane I’ve seen.

Darius Soriano

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10 responses to Tuesday Reading: Hardwood Hype on Byron Scott

  1. Sorry Darius… I guess great midrange spot up shooters with spectacular bodies don’t push the needle around here

  2. Wow, 37.1% from beyond the arc, we sure could use a sharpshooter like that now days. Maybe that 2nd round rookie the Lakers drafted, could equal or exceed those numbers.

  3. #1. Byron was ripped, man. And, I didn’t realize his shooting numbers were that good. I know he got a lot of points in transition, but he also did shoot a lot of mid-range jumpers. I wish they had HoopData stats for back then so I could see his %’s from different distances.

  4. Absolutely love reading pieces like this, especially during a time when the focus is so squarely on the lockout. Great stuff from Emile.

  5. One thing the Lakers do is spoil their fans for really good players. You have to be great in any grouping to be remembered by these fans.

    Too bad, because there have been some really good players come through here that today’s fans totally discount – Jamal (Keith) Wilkes anyone?

  6. #5. Wilkes is a great example. Everyone remember’s Magic’s ridiculous stat line from game 6 of the 1980 Finals which earned him the MVP and cult status as do-it-all phenom. But Wilkes’ line of 37pts and 10rebs was instrumental in getting that victory.

  7. Byron Scott frustrated me for a while that kid could not shoot in the Boston Garden, but everywhere else he was a dead eye shooter.

    Jamal (Silk) Wilkes, 20ft layup in Chick’s voice was a beautiful thing. Magic’s rookie year was memorable because he was so young and fearless, but Jamal was the two punch to Magic’s one punch.

  8. A Lakers fan learning about the Lakers: for every otherworldly player to suit up, there were a bunch of incredible players who don’t get the recognition they deserve. They get mentioned and sometimes praised, as in this piece.

    Keep going, I’d like to read more about these dudes – even though I’ve had my fair share of research done.

  9. As another reminder of how stacked teams were back then, anyone remember Wes Matthews? He’s the father of current Jazz Wesley Matthews Jr.

    Wes the Elder was the 4th guard on the 86-88 Laker championship teams, which mean you almost never saw him play. He was behind Magic/Byron/Coop and even though the stats say he averaged 11 minutes a game, I barely remember seeing him play and am pretty sure most of his minutes can be sourced to the 1987 Lakers blowing out a lot of teams by halftime.

    Anyways – in his stint with the Lakers, Matthews averaged 5 points a game and shot 47% and actually did a pretty decent job as a starter when Coop and Magic were both hurt in 1988. This was in an era when he was maybe the 9th guy and registered a DNP in 40% of our games. Today he’d be easily our best sub not named Lamar Odom.