The Laker’s Conundrum

The Los Angeles Lakers are 3-18, Kobe Bryant seems clocked out in his last season, and their head coach, Byron Scott is looking at benching the two players who are the future for Los Angeles. In this article, we will discuss everything wrong with the team, and try to figure out their conundrum. 

When you are 3-18, obviously it is not just the coaches fault, but also a lack of talent that is keeping you from winning. The roster is built from mainly role players, with a few young guys, who in the future could be stars. There is only about three players on the roster who should not be on the trade block. If you want to count Kobe on this list since no one will take him for his lofty salary and poor play be my guest. Roy Hibbert, Nick Young, Brandon Bass, Louis Williams will probably get you the best value in a trade, but they are still all pretty low-value additions for opposing teams. Nick Young is only good at spot-up threes, which he is rarely used for in Los Angeles. Hibbert is a good rim protector and rebounder, but his salary limits his value. Bass can stretch the floor as a cheaper veteran addition for a contending team.  Finally, Williams is a spark plug for the bench, showcased by winning the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award last season. If I am Los Angeles, I am dumping these veterans for anything, even second round picks. As much as we do not want to admit it, Philadelphia is finally starting to see some young talent develop(minus that San Antonio game), and are now fielding a somewhat competitive team for the future, unlike Los Angeles.

The decision to bench Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell are both crucial mistakes by Byron Scott. His justification for this move can be simplified to lack of energy and fit, but in a losing season, you need to allow for these young players to develop. If you do not let these players develop early on, you run the risk of them never panning out. Russell is struggling to find his way as an NBA guard, and in the Western Conference which is dominated by elite guards, he should not have been expected to dominate much like other rookies, Kristaps Porzingis and Karl-Anthony Towns have so far. Julius Randle is still essentially a rookie after breaking his leg last season, and has had a double-double in four of the last five games(19 rebounds against the Wizards), so why on earth would you pull that out of your line-up. These two players will be replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Larry Nance Jr. and Louis Williams. These two players are not a solution to fixing the season, so why not let the future of your franchise learn how to play at the NBA level.

The second year floor general, Jordan Clarkson has been great so far this season with scoring an average of 15.2 points per game. Clarkson’s assist numbers are less than spectacular at just 2.1 per game. His low assists numbers can be attributed to the lack of quality shooters on his team, also with Kobe demanding so much of the ball each possession. Although I love Clarkson for the rebuilding Lakers, if they wanted to try and get a star, he would be their best option in a trade. Of course, outside of Randle and Russell, who seem untradeable so far.

Byron Scott has not been a good coach in recent years, and I think that is why Los Angeles hired him. Scott steps back from Kobe and lets him run the show, so Kobe can try and go out on top(in his mind). Scott is a very poor developer of young talent. Now with Los Angeles being in the rebuilding stage for the first time in such a long time, they needed to hire a better man for the job. Scott is not to blame for the lack of talent on the roster, but give this roster to Rick Carlisle or Gregg Popovich and you have a somewhat competitive team.  This just shows you his lack of skill at the head coaching position in the NBA. With Kobe in his final season and the debacle that is unfolding in the handling of Russell and Randle, I expect this to be the final season for Bryon Scott. A mid-season fire seems a bit drastic for this team, as a new head coach would want to bring new ideas, and would have trouble working with Kobe, who wants to do things his way for the final time. Once Kobe retires and Scott is fired, Los Angeles has the young talent and salary cap to be good again, but patience will be the key to this happening.

 

By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17

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