Twelve games ago Byron Scott decided he wanted to shake up his starting lineup. The move was a controversial one as he demoted Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell — the two players most considered cornerstones of the team’s rebuild and future — from the ranks of the starters to reserves. The young players have said all the right things, but when pressed have expressed a desire to start (at least Russell has – Randle has taken the “control what you can control” approach with the media).
With the change now 12 games deep and exactly three weeks old, now is as good a time as any to take stock and look at some of the numbers and trends which have emerged since the switch. Please note that while Randle has been a reserve for all 12 games, he has missed a contest with a sore ankle and that Russell did start two of the 12 contests while Jordan Clarkson sat out with his own ankle issue.
With that, let’s dig into some numbers:
- The Lakers have gone 2-10 since the switch, nearly doubling their win total from the 3 they had in their previous 20 games.
- In the team’s 1st 20 games, the Lakers had an Offensive Efficiency of 96.3 and a Defensive Efficiency of 106.9. In the last 12 games the team has had an Offensive Efficiency of 97.4 and a Defensive Efficiency of 112.4. So, while the offense has improved marginally (if you want to call +1.1 points per 100 possessions even marginal improvement), the defense has actually been much worse since the switch.
- Individually, the Laker who has shown the most improvement in his play is Kobe Bryant. Since the lineup switch his scoring, assists, rebounds, and FG% are all up. While I believe these improvements are likely more tied to his body starting to feel better and his timing returning, maybe the change has helped too. I wouldn’t argue that, but I’m sure some might see it that way.
- As for Russell and Randle, their numbers have pretty much been identical from before and after the change.
- Russell’s averages as a reserve player: 12.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 39.8% shooting. As a starter: 11.5/4.5/3.5/40.6%.
- Randle’s averages as a reserve payer: 10.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, .9 assists, 38.6% shooting. As a starter: 11.7/9.2/2.0/43.3% shooting. The drop off in shooting and decline in assists stand out here, but those are likely the product of playing more minutes with teammates who aren’t as good as those he was as a starter.
- The eye test says that the Lakers have been better at the start of games since the change, but the numbers actually tell a bit of a different story. Pre lineup change, the Lakers had a net rating (OEff – DEff) of -17.6 in the 1st quarter of games, but in the last 12 games their net rating has actually been worse at -28.4. The difference in these numbers is on the defensive side of the ball where the Lakers are posting a DEff of 122.5(!!!) in the 1st quarter in their last 12 games. So, even though the offense has improved in the 1st quarters (their OEff has gone up by 3.2), it’s not been nearly enough to offset how bad their defense has been.
To summarize, the Lakers have won more (relative term, I know) after the change, but as I wrote in my game preview for Monday’s Hornets game, those wins seem mostly the product of strong individual performances and not indicative any real schematic improvements or in-game adjustments. What we’ve really seen, then, is the Lakers’ defense fall off a cliff since the change and not enough offensive improvement to offset it.
If you’re looking for a silver lining, the young players’ counting statistics have basically gone unchanged even though they are playing fewer minutes. However, those guys playing fewer minutes in general isn’t really a positive. Randle’s minutes are down 3.9 minutes a night since his move to the bench and Russell’s are down 2.3 a night. These aren’t huge numbers in the big picture, but it’s not nothing either.
Lastly, over the last week or so the Lakers have looked less engaged and prepared than earlier in the year. I don’t know if this is a product of losing, a product of the lineup change, or if this is just a perception bias on my part that cannot be proven outright. However, I would argue the drop off on defense is nearly all effort related and on too many possessions it looks like the players simply do not care. There are exceptions to this (Brandon Bass, for example, has been playing hard and well in last 10 games), but in general the drop off in defensive efficiency lines up with the eye test.
Byron Scott says the team will stick with the current lineup through the calendar year. That’s at least one more game of this before a potential change. We’ll see if any of the numbers or observations above translate to a change.
Justin Time says
Nice coverage! You forgot the “other” young player, which is Larry Nance Jr., who has blossomed into a viable option as a starter in the last games. He is much more active than Randle, when it comes to hustling, picks and D and seemed to find his outside shot lately. Nance could imo also be the spark off the bench, but has certainly profited a lot from starting & increased minutes.
PS: Fire BS! 🙂
Darius Soriano says
Yes, I am going to do a bigger writeup on Nance soon. This is why I left him out.
Randle is playing with zero confidence (perhaps a byproduct of coming off the bench). He’s a shell of the player who went after Draymond Green during the preseason.
– those wins seem mostly the product of strong individual performances –
most wins in the NBA are
Jim C. says
I understand that the front office is probably keeping Scott around as a stealth tanking effort, but he needs to go sooner rather than later. It does a team no good to tank if you kill the confidence, motivation and development of the players you DO manage to draft.
I’m giving the front office the benefit of the doubt here that they don’t REALLY see him as an “innocent bystander” and know what an absolute disaster he’s been as a coach this last season in a half in all aspects but finding ways to lose games and get high draft choices. If they truly DO see him as such, then I weep for the future of the Lakers.
Changes that need to be made sooner rather than later that Scott is unwilling or unable to do.
1. Russell and Randle need to be back in the starting lineup NOW. The winning pace with them on the bench has not been significantly better. Certainly not to the extent where this move has at all been justified.
2. Kobe needs to be put on a strict minute rotation under a reasonable rotation pattern. No playing a full quarter and then sitting a full quarter. That makes no sense. 27-28 minutes a game should be his max.
3. Lou Williams needs to be put under an even stricter minute rotation or traded. Not only is it heavily debateable whether he’s a better player than Clarkson or Russell right now, he’s clearly not the cornerstone of the future. There just can’t be games where he plays 37-38 minutes while Russell languishes on the bench.
4. Tarik Black needs to be the backup center. Sacre needs to be banished to the end of the bench.
5. Bass needs to be traded for whatever you can get from a contender for him or join Sacre at the end of the bench. Randle and Nance need to be getting all the minutes. Like with Lou, they’re the future, Bass is not.
6. Scott needs to be gagged in the media if he’s not going to be fired. His passive aggressive shots at the youngsters while saying nothing at all about the veterans have lost the team and it isn’t the first time either. Little Mr. Temper Tantrum needs to cool it.
7. Nick Young should either be traded to a contender or be played exclusively at SF. He can’t be taking minutes away from Clarkson and Russell like Lou has been doing.
This stuff really isn’t rocket science. Lakers are pretty close to being locked into the second worst record in the league. Big lead in the tank standings over Brooklyn and New Orleans. Unlikely to catch up to Philly.
Give Scott one or two more weeks to rack up a few more losses and then show his dumb *** the door forever. This is coming from a guy who grew up during the Showtime era, he’s more than used up his goodwill with me over the last couple of years.
Clay Bertrand says
I’m SURE GLAD Lou Williams, reigning 6th man of the year is clocking 38 minutes for us!!!!!! We don’t have ANYONE ELSE on the team who could POSSIBLY play the PG position and score 11 points and get a handful of assists. NO ONE on our bench can accomplish these amazing basketball feats!!
MAN, Lou is REALLY DEVELOPING right before our eyes!!!! The future is BRIGHT people!!! We have Lou Williams!!! He’s really going to be something special in a few years if we keep Byron and let him DEVELOP him the right way like he always has in the past.
I just LOVE how Byron brought Kobe BACK INTO THE GAME to ensure the LOSS!!!! The Bench and young guys get us back within KINDA striking distance and…..
Byron: “KOBE, Take off the ice pak!!! Alright now shoot EVERY time you touch it….I wanna try to get this WIN!!!”
well said Jim C.
Clay Bertrand says
TOTALLY AGREE with Jim C!!
To add to his sentiment, check this out…THIS IS SO RIGHT ON!!!!!! THIS is why Byron Scott is a feeble minded idiot. PLEASE READ THIS!!!!
This is what Sam Mitchell coach of the TWolves said yesterday regarding NOT playing his Veterans any more and prioritizing the young core…..
Mitchell said he and the team must look to the future.
“You have to be realistic,” Mitchell said. “I’m not saying K-Mart and some of our veteran players won’t continue to play, but you can’t do everything. We’re still trying to win games, but we’re trying to give our young guys an opportunity to win games. If not, we’re going to be in the same situation next year trying to figure out who can play, what position they play. We need them to get better and the only way they’re going to get better is to play.”
We MUST be showcasing our crappy players for trade possibilities at this point. Its the ONLY explanation for the current rotations…………………..AND Byron is a moron…..
I have a hypothesis about the Lakers defense falling off the cliff.
I once read an interview with former Laker Chris Mihm, who was on the team during the awful 2004-2005 season when Rudy T. coached for 45 games and abruptly quit. According to Mihm, the team was bad, but it hung together while Rudy T. was coaching it. Once he left, team cohesion fell apart and players started playing for individual stats.
Perhaps something similar happened when B. Scott made his lineup changes. Up to that point, the players were willing to put forth an effort because the team’s most talented players were all starting and the game plan was aligned with trying to win. Once Scott benched Randle and Russell, that was the explicit signal the team is in full tank mode, and players decided less-than-full effort was acceptable.
We might wish NBA players would give it their best every night, but it’s human nature to slack off when one’s efforts don’t appear to be going towards a meaningful goal.
Trade: Swaggy P, Hibbert and Lou
Start: Russell and Randall
Yeah, we have no defense. Having Lou Williams & Kobe covering the wings is not a good thing on the defensive end, so they have to be ultra efficient during their scoring to attempt to make up for it (which isn’t happening).
Randle hasn’t looked good to me at all lately, but he does seem to have a nose for the ball and is snagging a lot of boards. Clarkson hasn’t looked to great to me either, Jeremy Lin looked like the far superior player last night when they were matched up. Hibbert pretty much has to go all out for a contract, not many teams want a lumbering big currently–or they already have one. So he is looking at a big pay decrease, really can’t see anyone offering him more than 5-6mill, he’s basically a solid back-up guy, he doesn’t bring that much as a starter. He does seem solidly better than Sacre though, but Sacre is a way better cheerleader from the bench.
Nick Young, seems to have lost his swag, pretty sure Byron Scott stole it a few weeks ago.
I’m starting to become a fan of Nance, he seems to play hard all the time and I like his style of play. Out of our young guys, I find Nance more fun to watch, he seems like a guy that plays hard on D consistently. But honestly, last nights loss was a good loss, we hung in there, after being tired and jet lagged.
So who here still thinks we win 30 games? How about 20 games? We look like a solid 18win team to me this year. Can’t wait to see the Lakers in 2017-2018 season, just one more season to endure until we maybe come close to a winning record.
Maybe they will cut Huertas and mwp and call up someone
They could possibly cut Huertas (although I don’t think they will) and bring up Vander Blue whom they briefly looked at last year. Blue has been torching the D League recently.
But then again, it’s only the D League.
Other than that, I don’t see the Lakers making any changes.
Clay Bertrand says
Matt and Mid,
Our FREAKING coach doesn’t play the young prospects WE HAVE!!!!!! What makes anyone think he’d play some D-League Call Up!?!?!?!!?!??? Tarik Black TORE IT UP down there and you can’t even SEE him on the bench he’s buried so deep!!!!!
Maybe we can play Lou Williams some more minutes but that’s the extent of Byron’s “changes”….Or maybe Kobe and Nick Young…..Byron KNOWS basketball alright!!!
I think the bottom line is that we need defensive minded perimeter players. We can’t expect a guy like Anthony Brown to come in his rookie season and have him shut down guys on the perimeter; which is what Byron tried to do when he started Brown a couples games back.
Obviously trading Young or Williams for a defensive minded wing player would be ideal. Also agree that we have to start playing Black at backup center. This is just idiotic that he hasn’t played at all since the first week of the season. In the first few games he played, he did get out hustled down low, but I think he has been punished enough!!
The other obvious thing is that this team has to focus and communicate better on defense and as much as I loathe Byron, the PLAYERS have to step up and start defending better. Clarkson is atrocious at times guarding other guards and of course Williams can’t guard worth anything. These guys just give up too easily whenever a team scores on them. They need to be resilient and have a better attitude at the defensive end. The body language at times is so pathetic from the guys, especially Clarkson and Randle. All these brings me to the coach…it falls on the coach to motivate and teach these guys and obviously it has not been done on the defensive end.
Jim C (and those who agree): I am not exactly sure what is being said in the first two paragraphs. You state that the FO “is probably keeping Scott around as a stealth tanking effort” However then state that this is “no good… if you kill the confidence, motivation and development”. You then give the FO the “benefit of the doubt” and that they know “what an absolute disaster he’s been as a coach”
So I guess what this means is that since Byron is obviously an idiot, the FO knows this and for the past 1 1/2 years we have had him in place simply for the tank. Of course because our FO is so adept at chicanery, they added to the ruse by stating that we had “turned a corner” (JB) and Mitch pulled a Jim Mora and said “Playoffs!”. However, also because we are so skilled and adept we are now going to time Byron’s departure at the perfect time. We have accomplished the tank yet we have not yet damaged the youngsters and as long as we install Mark Footloose Madsen at this point it would be perfect and the FO genius would be proven once again. So we have known what we are doing all along and this is all part of a master scheme. Sounds believable : )
Did I miss anything?
Other thoughs is Lou has been terrible as a starter. Shooting close to 30%, playing poor defense while playing the most minutes on the team. You don’t need Jackson or Riley to tell you he has never been a starter for a reason.
2nd is Slow Roy. Every aspect of his game has declined and is bottem 7 in entire league in plus-minus. Put Kobe, Lou and Slow Roy on court at same time and you will be last in rebounds and last in defense.
Either Bryon is the dumbest coach in Laker history or our Mensa Rejects FO is showing Lou and Slow Roy for January trades for 2nd round drafts.
Either way this year long Kobathon is the biggest con job in sports history. “Come one come all, pay full price to see the
once great Kobe shoot 8. 3 pointers a game but DO NOT EXPECT A PROFESSIONAL TEAM OR COACH or baskets made”.
The longest farewell since Johnny Carson has still 2 more months to go. My 11 year old will have grown a beard by the time it ends!
IMO, the Lakers situation is not all that mysterious. I think that since Howard walked, the Lakers have been trying to be Dallas. Dallas has
a) Stayed competitive
b) Continued to construct the team around a franchise icon in his late 30s
c) Kept enough cap space open to chase FAs.
After the 2014 season, the 27-55 season under D’Antoni, Kupchak told Sam Amick of USA Today that he thought that team could win “in the 40s.” I believe that Mitch thought that. They slid Pau in at the 5, brought in Farmar/Johnson/Kaman/Young, and were hoping to get 60-65 good games each out of Nash and Kobe. Last year, they brought in Lin and Davis, and I think were looking for 35-40 wins, again counting on a Kobe comeback. This year, I think they brought in Williams to hedge the Kobe bet, brought in Hibbert in an attempt to stabilize the D, and brought in BB as a hedge against Randle playing badly/getting hurt and again, were hoping to compete for a low seed—as Mitch said.
Cuban of course has not been able to land the big fish in FA to put the capstone on his plan, but I think that Jim for sure, and maybe Mitch as well, believed that the Lakers name and market would prevent the Lakers from meeting that fate. Also, of course, Nowitzki has stayed healthy, held a lot of his value, and agreed to take huge pay cuts; and Dallas has a stable and respected coach—key differences.
As to the coaching hires, I think Jim hired Brown because Shaw was Phil’s guy and because they thought they would have Chris Paul. I think they hired D’Antoni because they thought he was the guy to connect Nash, Howard, and Kobe and get them to work together. And I think they hired Scott because, as Jim himself said, “He’s a Laker” and the last two hires of non-Lakers guys bombed. I also think they figured that the team needed to get tougher mentally, and that Byron, as a Riley disciple, was the guy to do that and the guy to take Kobe’s career to the finish line.
As to what is going on now, I think the internet ugliness directed at Byron—the name calling, the use of words like loathe—is misguided. Again, if you look at Scott’s personality and track record, he is coaching this team exactly the way one would expect him to. If the FO doesn’t like it, they can tell him to change and fire him if he refuses. Anyone who is incensed about Scott having the job at this point should be pillorying the FO, not ignoring them or apologizing for them.
Finally, WRT to Stealth Tank theories, even if the FO cans Byron tomorrow and turns the team over to Pressey or Madsen with orders to play the young guys, the Lakers are likely locked into the second-worst record. Brooklyn has no incentive to tank, NO has Anthony Davis, and with the East much improved, it will be hard for Philly to pick up many stray wins.
You did miss something–the false pursuits of Carmelo Anthony and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Jim C. says
Robert – “Did I miss anything?”
Yep. A few things.
The first rather large something I’d say: the need to sell season tickets to a fanbase not accustomed to losing. What else are they going to say other than they’ve turned the corner? “We’ve decided to tank for multiple seasons in a row.” Not likely. This isn’t Philly. The fanbase is already restless so they had to claim they were making moves to try and push for the playoffs whatever their real motives.
A second something that you’ve missed is Jim Buss’ self-imposed deadline to get into contention.and show major progress in a hurry. Once it became very obvious that the Lakers weren’t going anywhere this year as constructed and coached, the fasted way to contend in a hurry is to hope and pray the lottery balls fall your way.
In other words, there’s a rather large incentive if you’re Jimmy Buss and started to worry about the deadline that has been set to be terrible this year in hopes of getting a major asset in return.
You can either draft somebody like Simmons or trade him for a guy like Cousins who might be good enough as a draw to pull in a couple of other top tier free agents with your loads of cap space.
When it’s third and 25 with the clock ticking down you don’t call a running play up the middle.
A third something would be the myriad of injuries that Byron had for his first year likely gaining him something of a mulligan with the front office for that year. Also, Byron DID have a history of working with skilled young point guards before this year. There was some optimism that it would be a good fit.
A fourth something would be that if the Lakers pull the trigger to quickly on Byron, that would be the third coaching hire they’ve run off since they ran off Phil Jackson in 2011. Potential coaching hires will want to feel like they’ll have some time to implement their system and not be yanked at the first sign of trouble. Once you start seeing more “why haven’t the Lakers fired Byron” articles than you already have started seeing, they’ll have cover that they gave him as much of a chance as could be reasonably expected.
But, yeah, other than all those things you nailed the master scheme brilliantly.
rr: Anthony and Aldridge were also part of the “stealth” portion of the tank. We were just feigning interest in them.
KO: Kobe’s farewell only has 50 games to go. Other “key individuals” may have more than that. “Kobathon” I like that. Can I use that in a future Kobe Alert?
dave b says
One thing to take into account.
The schedule has been harder the last 12 games with the average opponent SRS being 1.5 and 106 ORTG 104.3 DRTG
The previous 20 games the average opponent had an SRS of -0.3 with an ORTG of 104.3 and DRTG of 104.7.
Also the Lakers have played 11 home games vs 21 road games. Once these numbers even out their core numbers are likely to improve.
Robert Upshaw alert: tonight the big 7-footer for the LA Defenders had 12 pts. (5-11 shooting), 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 fouls in 25 minutes.
I saw about 10 minutes of the game. (Hey. What can I say? I was bored.) IMO he has a long ways to go. I think he should be far more dominant than he is. But, to his credit, he appears to be in much better shape than he was during the summer. Much better. No comparison. He was actually running the floor well.
He may have a future. But he still needs work. Only time will tell.
Nice post. I hate to sound like an apologist, but many of the FO moves made some degree of sense at the time, particularly post-Veto (what I always come back to). I think the Lakers’ history and pedigree, along with a certain misunderstanding of both the new CBA and the impact of the new TV deal, led Jim and Mitch down certain paths.
I also think Jim made some decisions designed to show he was a capable guy as well and did not need Phil. For that, I can offer no explanation and have no patience.
Two biggest FO sins in my eyes: hubris (leading to a series of decisions that may make sense individually but reveal a lack of a long-term vision) and what appears to be an unwillingness to listen to others and adapt accordingly.
Obviously, many of the bigger issues come back to the FO (strategic choices), but I would also argue that Byron is compounding the cultural problems with his approach (tactical choices). I’ve said this before — I worry about changing a losing culture that appears to be enveloping the team and the fan base.
What else are they going to say other than they’ve turned the corner?
I think people who are buying tickets this year (including me—I will be making the trip up the freeway to see a game next month) are buying them to say goodbye to the Mamba and to see the young guys. I don’t think that signing Lou Williams or what Mitch and Jim say to media outlets drive ticket sales. They could just have just said come see Kobe and the Kids. There was no need to talk playoffs.
WRT the rest of the post, they may be holding onto Byron because they feel like firing him now would look bad, but I am pretty sure that with Kobe off the books, a few young guys (even if they lose the pick) and a ton of cap space, the FO will be able to make a nice coaching hire if they guarantee 4 or more years at big money regardless of whether Byron gets canned now or in April. Being the guy who gets paid 4/20 or more for a chance to lead the Lakers back to prominence will probably look pretty good to Scott Brooks or Luke Walton or to some other potential coach. And who knows–maybe Jeanie will want to hire Becky Hammon or Nancy Lieberman. I expect that the sticking point may be that the new coach will want some major say over personnel, given the FO’s recent track record. But I don’t think that canning Byron when the team is 5-27 would scare off the next coaching candidates.
And, if they are keeping Byron around and letting him play the vets just so they can lose more…well, sure, I guess it is possible. That’s the thing with conspiracy theories: it is hard to disprove them. But like I said, I don’t think there is much reason to believe that the team will either lose more than Philly or less than anyone else if they hand the clipboard to Mark Madsen the offense to D’Angelo Russell. And there is only a 55% chance of keeping the pick and a 20% chance of picking first with second-worst record, so if they think that Byron is really hurting the young guys, then they should let him go immediately.
Jim C: You did not make this plan, so I am not criticizing you, but you are trying to explain the FO plan as if it makes sense and it just doesn’t. It has not for years and the results back that up.
“the fastest way is to hope and pray the lottery balls fall your way.” There is nothing fast about drafting and developing. It takes years. So Jim’s deadline, and tanking by definition can’t have anything to do with each other.
“that would be the third coaching hire they’ve run off since they ran off Phil Jackson in 2011. ” Indeed. So I guess what we are saying is that we have made so many mistakes, so rapidly, that we need to delay in correcting our latest mistake?
“When it’s third and 25 with the clock ticking down you don’t call a running play up the middle. ” The third and 25 play would be to sign a big name free agent. I do not want them to do that and fortunately their attempts have failed.
” There was some optimism that it would be a good fit.” So we thought he was a good fit when we hired him; we thought he was a good fit this summer, and now we have realized it is a bad fit. So in other words we had a chance to not hire him, we could have gotten rid of him in an orderly fashion last summer, and now it makes perfect sense to fire him in a panic. Byron has been the same dude the entire time.
“What else are they going to say ” Perhaps – uh – nothing about playoffs or turning corners.
Anyways – we are playing the Celtics – that should take our minds off this for one day.
Yeah, I hate the celtics, and I’m going to take a night off from watching us lose to them. The celtics are a scrappy team defensively and seem to play hard anytime I see them. So I’m not optimistic that our old time rival somehow doesn’t beat us thoroughly. At this point only losing by 10 feels like a minor victory of sorts. I think I might just re-watch Bird vs. Magic for the 100th time instead 🙂
We’ve turned a corner.
Clearly! But you turned THE WRONG WAY.
Dr Mike says
Not saying FO is absolved but I’m sure Byron presented himself as a coach who develops young talent well (pointing to Irving and Paul) during the interviews. In this respect, Byron has failed fulfill the most important aspect of his job. Also, it’s silly to say that Byron has done things a certain way and will always do it the same way. People generally evolve and learn from their prior experiences, especially from their failures. It is unfortunate that Byron has not. He’s likely coaching himself out of the NBA.
david h says
Darius: appreciate the continual time and emphasis you place on all things lakers as illustrated in your current post: Thoughts and Trends from the Lakers Last Twelve Games. As we all remember, Byron’s change in the starting line-up was going to be 5 to 10 games and yet here we are coming up on a baker’s dozen tonite versus the other once proud championship winning franchise: boston celtics. Here’s guessing it’s coach’s prerogative to change his mind once again. In terms of winning, results of changes in starting line-up will remain minimal. In terms of development, results can be monumental good and bad.
Starting the new year, Friday versus Philly; O’Angelo needs to be reinserted back into the starting rotation; placing Lou Williams back as 6th man where he belongs as SHOOTING guard, period; lesson learned; end of sentence; end of story.
Following Byron’s logic; Randle will probably continue to languish with the second unit. With Nance’s emergence; understandably not an easy call going in to the new year. hoping coach meets with some kind of conniption telling him he’s not understanding the delicate psyche of a potential all-star in the making but being sure both get similar playing time. Randle regressed on the 2nd unit.
Baby steps for the lakers. like the new year’s baby, my resolution will remain steadfast.
I predict that if Byron Scott makes it to the midway point of the season (41 games) without getting the ax, then the Lakers will keep him on board until the very end.
But I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get canned immediately after that. There’s just no reason to keep him on board for another year. Any claims that he’s an “innocent bystander” are nothing short of ludicrous.
But I see him lasting the season (I think). We shall see what happens.
A lot of these posts necessarily involve some spec, but we don’t know what Byron said in the many interviews. Also, at the time Byron was hired, Russell wasn’t on the team yet. As to the evolve and adapt thing, the guy had coached three different franchises over thirteen years and they interviewed him multiple times—they should have known what they were getting. Finally, we don’t really know that what Scott is doing is hurting Russell and Randle long-term. As Fern has pointed out, Mudiay was playing a lot worse than Russell has been.
Good post. Most of my questions about the FO revolve around how they have handled things since Kobe went down and Howard left, and I have said many times that a lot of this mess goes back to the veto, so we are on the same page there.