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Potential Lakers coach Byron Scott: Kobe Bryant must change his game

May 23, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant didn’t quite take to Mike D’Antoni.

The recently resigned Lakers coach brings a lot of positives to the sidelines, but he coaches to an up-tempo system and doesn’t communicate especially well. D’Antoni can be stubborn.

And so can Kobe, which led to clashing.

Kobe wants – and deserves, given his role in the organization – a say in the coaching he receives the rest of his career. He might not get it, but the next coach will still have to work with him.

Byron Scott recently interviewed with the Lakers, and he discussed how he’d handle Kobe. Scott on ESPN LA:

I am the perfect guy for this job. I’ve got a great relationship with Kobe. I know the team, know the roster, watched them all season long. And I just think it would be a great fit.

Obviously, if I get the job, the first conversation with Kobe. We have to talk about the future of the Los Angles Lakers. We have to also talk about the type of direction we’re going to be taking and also talk about the type of game that he’s going to be playing, because he’s going to have to change his game a little bit, and I think he knows that. We’ve got to sit down and talk about the minutes and things like that. We’ve just got to come to an agreement. But he knows me. I’m an old-school type guy, old-school type guy. And I want him to understand that, and I think he does understand that. We communicate during the summer by text, and every now and then, I’ll run into him somewhere and we’ll talk a little bit more about basketball. But I think the biggest thing is, No. 1, I respect the hell out of Kobe, and I think he respects me. That’s the first hurdle you’ve got to get past, and then other things, we’ll solve all those little issues.

Maybe Scott, a former Lakers player, has the rapport with Kobe necessary to demand Kobe change his game. But as we saw with D’Antoni, a headstrong Kobe probably won’t be the one to meet a headstrong coach halfway.

Really, it probably depends on what changes Scott means. He implies Kobe playing fewer minutes, which might not go over well. It’s probably not a pace adjustment – Scott’s New Orleans teams played pretty low tempo, though his Nets relied on the fastbreak, and his Cavs weren’t slow.

No matter whom the Lakers hire, Kobe can enter next season with the best of intentions. That’s especially true if the new coach is some he respects, like Scott. But once the relationship changes to player-coach and the coach tells Kobe to do something Kobe doesn’t want to do, we’ve seen how that has usually gone (unless Phil Jackson is coaching, and even then sometimes).

Maybe Scott is the best man for the job. It still won’t be an easy job for anyone.

  1. rodge1 - May 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Kobe would have to change his attitude first, good luck with that.

    • bklyn221 - May 23, 2014 at 5:47 PM


  2. crillbill - May 23, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    Everyone knows the roster. The 2 oldest guards in the league and Robert Sacre.

    Probably not looking to go uptempo

  3. mogogo1 - May 23, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Lakers are in limbo right now. With more talent then Kobe would need to change some things if they were going to contend. But currently Kobe trying to do it all is still better than deferring to most of the other guys they have.

  4. buffalowned - May 23, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    I think by change his game he probably meant stop taking an excessive amount of shots at a wildly inefficient clip and try to get his teammates involved and make them better..but odds are Kobe still shoots as many times as it takes to average 25 a game

  5. emdawt - May 23, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Kobe will play any role if he wins. Not sure why people refuse to understand this point.

    • duhwighthoward - May 23, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Watch the Finals when the Lakers lost to the Pistons. Then what is apparent to every other person on earth will become so to you too.

      • emdawt - May 23, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        I remember that series – Gary Payton was out and Karl Malone was hurt – and no one outside Kobe and Shaq could score.

      • sportsfan18 - May 23, 2014 at 6:28 PM


        Kobe only scored because he kept shooting and shooting… he was TERRIBLE in that series and should have kept feeding the ball to the big fella Shaq.

        Here are Shaq’s and Kobe’s stats from the Finals series…

        Shaq shot .631% from the field…

        Kobe only shot .381% from the field…

        Sadly, Kobe TOOK 113 FG attempts in those 5 games to only 84 shots for Shaq…

        Oh, for three point shooting, Kobe was a whole 4 of 23 in the series for .174%

        SEVENTEEN Percent from 3 point range…

        But Kobe kept shooting and shooting… It wasn’t like Shaq wasn’t shooting well. They couldn’t stop Shaq from scoring… but Kobe could by not giving him the ball…

        Poor Shaq would have had to bring the ball up court himself to get more shots with KoMe out there on the floor.

        HOW does one take and MISS so many shots when there is a 7 foot plus 335 lb or so beast in the middle shooting so well?

        KOBE LOST that series for the Lakers…

        Shaq even played more min’s per game in that series… and Kobe kept bricking up shots…

    • buffalowned - May 23, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      Is that why he got Shaq traded and left another 2 or 3 championships on the table?

    • antistratfordian - May 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      No, I think the Steve Nash experiment has proven that he won’t.

      • limonadamas - May 23, 2014 at 7:02 PM

        You mean the Steve Nash experiment where they never really got on the court together at the same time? Yeah, that’s great “proof.” You can do better than that. haha

      • antistratfordian - May 23, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        Please. They did get on the court together and Kobe was so resistant to change that he forced Nash to move to shooting guard (of all people!) so Mamba could ensure that he’d touch the ball as much as he wanted to.

    • joescan54 - May 23, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      Ask Shaq about that.

  6. kclanton80 - May 23, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    The lakers wont be contenders again until well after Kobe’s retirement. I don’t see a scenario where they would be able to acquire enough talent to be contenders in the time Kobe has left. Truthfully, the Lakers should have left him walk and Kobe should have been interested in leaving. He doesn’t seem to understand that a team with him as its best player is not a contender anymore.

    Would actually have loved to see him go to San Antonio. He would have enough respect of Pop, Tim, Manu, and Tony to maybe not force so many shots and play in the system. Some of the greatest winners of this generation could have chased a few more rings together. Alas that will never happen as the Lakers foolishly paid Kobe far beyond what he is now worth.

  7. hwatt - May 23, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    kobe’s going back on the injured list next year.

  8. sportsfan18 - May 23, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Begging is not becoming Byron…

    • au1978 - May 23, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      I know, right? But I’m thinking he’s just what the Lakers need.

  9. topdawg4ever - May 23, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Old dog new tricks? I don’t think so.

  10. antistratfordian - May 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM


  11. rexgrossman8 - May 23, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    A coach who’s been fired 3 times is the Laker savior? There’s a reason he hasn’t gotten a job. This has train wreck written all over it. Getcha popcorn ready.

    • mackcarrington - May 23, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      Besides the ones who are on their first jobs, the only coaches with tenure who haven’t been fired are Popovich and Spoelstra.

    • joescan54 - May 23, 2014 at 6:08 PM

      Lakers don’t need a savior. THEY ARE NOT A PLAYOFF TEAM.

  12. bklyn221 - May 23, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    choice of word that will not get you hired. KOBE should already be complaining.

  13. joescan54 - May 23, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    Good Luck Byron. If Phil Jackson got grief for fine tuning Kobe’s game, what will happen with you. Phil had 8 rings before he got to L. A. Kobe is going to do what he’s going to do. Byron should let someone else have the job, pull their hair out for 2 years and when Kobe retires, take the job.

  14. jollyjoker2 - May 24, 2014 at 1:01 AM

    kobe is OLD. He is a top player but not a stud anymore so he needs to step back. Its like tiger woods, he aint gonna win a grandslam on an old back ..Times moving on. .

  15. onbucky96 - May 24, 2014 at 4:57 AM

    Feldman, Kobe “deserves” a say in the head coach? You’re a tool, Kobe PLAYS for the Lakers. If you want to anoint Kobe Player/Head Coach, fine. Who keeps giving athletes the notion their opinion matters? Shut up and play.

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