Absolutely nobody in a Laker uniform played well Monday night. Heck, the waterboy likely had an off night, too. Not one coach or player should be happy after a 48-point loss on the road to a desperate Jazz team looking to make the postseason. That was the worst loss of Kobe’s career and tied for the worst in Lakers’ franchise history.
It was ugly. Kobe shrugged it off basically asking what did you expect from a 15-win team with young players?
Byron Scott thought it was time for another tough love lesson for his young players. Via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
“You have to show this organization that you deserve to be here and you understand what wearing that purple and gold is all about,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I don’t think a lot of guys in that locker room understand that right now.”
That explains Scott’s skepticism on who will lead the Lakers’ franchise following Bryant’s departure.
“I don’t look at any of those guys as being our next Kobe,” Scott said. “They can be a piece of it or part of it. But not to get to that level that he has gotten to.”
Magic Johnson decided to pile on, too.
Some people within the Lakers’ organization liked Scott’s approach this season — D'Angelo Russell was not being professional with his work habits early and needed that tough love to bring him in line, the thinking goes. His ego was too big and needed to be corralled (something bordering on ironic in Kobe’s final season). The same tough love they think worked for Julius Randle, Larry Nance, and Jordan Clarkson.
Saying these final games are still a chance to improve and work on their games is a valid point.
But are any of those players still listening to Scott, or have his tactics lost them? A 48-point loss suggests the latter. We’ll see if a different coach has better luck next season.