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Byron Scott calls lack of effort around NBA “scary”

Dec 28, 2010, 12:20 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

Byron Scott is old school — he played for Pat Riley and his legendary four-hour practices. He was a scrappy role player on a team filled with competitive people — Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — who only knew one way to play. That was not a team where you gave 50 percent some nights. Plus, like other players of that era they have forgotten the bad times and remember only the good.

So the inconsistent effort Scott is getting from his Cavs this season frustrates him. Because he doesn’t remember his Lakers taking nights off (they did). The fact he has to constantly remind them to give their all is doubly frustrating.

But that’s today’s NBA, where Scott told Waiting for Next Year the effort level is “scary.”

“Around this league, it’s like that,” said Scott on Monday afternoon. “I’m sure I’m not the only coach that has to tell his guys that they have to go out and play hard every single night, ‘We have to compete tonight’ and things like that. I talk to other coaches and it’s almost universal, which is kind of weird. To me, that should be a part of your job, to compete and play hard every single night….”

“My job is to be a little more harsh, keep them a little more accountable as we can’t keep making the same mistakes.”

First off, realize this is a motivational tactic by Scott. However, a coach can do part of the motivating. To be really effective that drive and effort has to demanded by other players. Kevin Garnett is a legendary practice demon. Kobe Bryant will let you know in no uncertain terms if you don’t bust it on his team. There are others, but there is a reason those two guys led their teams to the finals last season.

Scott can talk to his Cavs all he wants, until someone in the locker room steps up and demands effort and accountability they will be inconsistent. At best.

  1. jimsjam33 - Dec 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Byron Scott was truly one of the great players on the ” Showtime Lakers. ” An outstanding citizen and a good coach he should have taken the Los Angeles Clipper job . He wanted excitement , hustle , and potential …well Blake Griffin and the baby Clippers are as good as it gets. Byron , leave that Cavalier job and get back to L.A. where you belong . L.A. loves our vets Rambis , Magic , Scott , Jabbar and James Worthy . The greatest of All Time !

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM

      I would never encourage anyone to work for Donald Sterling.

  2. psousa1 - Dec 28, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    Not a big secret there. The worst team in the NBA can beat the best team on a Wednesday night game in January because the best team has a big game against another team two nights later so they put it on cruise control. It is such a garbage league. You never know when something is on the up and up whether it is intentionally or not intentionally because a guy doesn’t feel like giving an effort.

    God, the Lakers, Celtics, Sixers, Bucks, Rockets in the 80’s would kill each other before they would ever concede a game.

    • hashfest - Dec 28, 2010 at 2:28 PM

      If you played for the Detroit Pistons in the ’80’s you would be killed if you were a slacker

  3. agelardi - Dec 28, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    We live in a world where coaches & parents heap loads of praise on their kids just for showing up. At the year end league banquet, you get a trophy just for participating. I am not surprised that this attitude has infected professional sports.

  4. silencegooddoer - Dec 28, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    Maybe this is a result of the off-season colluding of the star player’s choice to beef up select teams in order to “more easily” achieve a championship with out the effort that historically was needed. With the league allowing such antics and the media conceding playoff and championship outcomes before the season starts, the rest of the NBA teams / players buy into this stuff. Its funny, you hear such star players say that they love this game; however, I think they actually like themselves more than the game. Everyone of them care more about themselves than they do sportsmanship or the ethics of the game. They don’t respect the game or the legue which ironically they would be nothing without. Nobody would care about LeBron James, his friends, his mother, his kids, the baby momma that he won’t marry, if it were not for the NBA. I think that in itself is why he despises the league, and does everything he can to avoid promoting the legue itself.

    • secdominance - Dec 28, 2010 at 10:36 PM


    • secdominance - Dec 28, 2010 at 10:37 PM

      I’m waiting on you and people like you to blame all the world’s problems on Lebron James leaving Cleveland. I mean its inevitable

  5. lexafan - Dec 28, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Byron sure has the right to comment on this subject. Just look at the Cavs… The problem I have is the picture shows Scott and Daniel (Boobie) Gibson and insinuates Gibson as a slacker. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Gibson, along with Anderson Varejao and believe it or not, Antawn Jamison, are playing hard every night. I just hope the reason is not to hook up with a better team. I can’t really blame any of them for wanting out. Antawn is tradeable from the Cavs standpoint (big contract-not much future with Cavs) for a team at playoff time that has needs. I didn’t mean to bring up negativity for the Cavs roster, just to set the record straight that Gibson is playing hard and is making a difference. I’ll be a Cavs fan no matter what happens. I was there as a fan when they started and I’ll be a fan to the end.

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 28, 2010 at 8:08 PM

      That picture was chosen just as Scott and one of his players, was not trying to suggest Gibson is the problem.

  6. downtowndanny - Dec 28, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    if I was blessed to play pro sports, there is no way I could take that for granted. there’s too many egos, and selfish stat whores nowadays. you dont have to have/be a superstar to be competitive. thats y a guy like Noah is my fav player in the league, he wont win u any rings alone, but he goes out and plays hard every night. what more can u ask for?

  7. d57fan - Dec 28, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    All good points….and absolutely true.

  8. ispysomething7 - Dec 28, 2010 at 11:52 PM

    @downtowndanny: That’s easy for you to say, you haven’t walked in their shoes. I look at the NBA and I see 2 types of players, but in the end they become the same; one just takes longer to morph into the final stage.

    The first is the nobody out of college, gets drafted late/undreafted, makes league minimum, busts his ass for 2-3 years and is rewarded with a good contract. He can either contniue this torrid path for more money, or some dumb owner hands him a blank check and hit the mother load.

    The second player is a guy drafted high and with huge talent or upside. He will either be a bonofide star (think James, Wade, Howard, Dirk, Iverson, Durant, etc) or be a draft bust, but none the less will make some dough (Diop, Langdon, Oden, Brown, etc). The stars will play hard for 3-4 years and then earn the real dough; $15MM+ per year.

    In the end, all these players will cross the same path. Some will get there sooner than others. They will become lazy, tired of the bickering, drama, groupies, drugs, practice, basicly the work it will take to win it all. All the games they play, plus the practices. So what is I take a night off? Who cares, right? I have my millions. I put my time in and I should get paid.

    In the end, Kobe might be a special breed. But, he too, might take some nights/plays off.

    downtowndanny I agree with you 100%. You should be blessed with the God given talent and not take anything for granted. I guess we will really see if they take this fro granted when the contract is up.

  9. polegojim - Dec 29, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    The NBA suffers from the same garbage as other ‘guaranteed money’ sports.

    Face it, if I have my millions booked, I can afford to take some time off on the court.

    Results Based Pay contracts and schedules would change all that, and produce a MUCH better effort game in and game out for everyone.

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