The Lakers (11-25) lost to the Clippers (24-12) by 25 points on Wednesday, in what evidently was a surprise to Byron Scott.
It’s widely accepted that L.A.’s varsity team doesn’t have the talent to compete with the JV squad this season, and the head-to-head result was expected by even the league’s most casual observers.
But as head coach of the Lakers, Scott (at least theoretically) needs to demand more from his guys. So perhaps it was fitting, then, that he called his team out for being “soft” after its latest humiliating loss.
“I was just telling them the truth,” Scott said. “I just wanted to tell them how I felt and how I thought the Clippers viewed us as a basketball team. And I was just being totally honest.”
Scott didn’t back off his comments Thursday after a practice he made sure to point out concluded with a healthy dose of running. To the contrary, Scott acknowledged the seriousness of his choice of the word soft.
“It’s almost like walking up to another man and slapping him,” Scott said. “But like I said, I wasn’t pulling punches.”
This isn’t the first time this season that this particular word has been used to describe these Lakers; Kobe Bryant said the same after a disheartening practice with his teammates in early December.
Scott has every right to expect a certain level of effort out of his players, and if they aren’t giving it, then he can call them whatever he likes. But the expectations need to remain in the realm of the realistic — and for an 11-25 club that simply isn’t as good as most others from a talent perspective, that’s a fine line for the head coach to walk.