Lakers Coach Byron Scott: We Are Not Tanking

Lakers Coach Byron Scott: We Are Not Tanking
Los Angeles Lakers Michael / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott has a message for ardent fans hoping for the team to lose, in order to save the top-3 protected draft pick. According to Scott, the team is trying to win.


Scott has been subject to criticism ever since he took over as head coach of the Purple & Gold last season. Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Scott had a 32-108 record as coach of the Lakers (21-61 last season and 11-47 this season).

Still has a job…

Ordinarily, a coach with such an appalling record would have been shown the door. However, Laker fans and team management realize that Scott is, if anything, doing them a favor by losing. It’s no secret that the Lakers risk losing their top-3 protected draft pick this year. To keep the prized pick, they need to increase their odds by losing as many games as possible.

“You don’t go out there trying to lose basketball games,” the former showtime Laker said ahead of the Grizzlies game on Wednesday. “I think that’s a bad way to present that to your team, ‘We’re trying to lose so we can protect the top-three pick.’ That’s a bad omen to me,” added Scott.

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“It sets a bad precedent to me, especially this organization and the people that’s been in this organization for a long time and understand what this organization is all about, we’ve never been like that and never will be. So I would never, even behind closed doors, tell my players, tell my coaches, tell my trainers or anybody that we were trying to lose games on purpose to protect the pick,” said Scott, who was instrumental in Lakers picking D’Angelo Russell ahead of Jahlil Okafor during the previous draft.

Latest lottery odds for Lakers…

If the season were to end today, the Lakers, who own the NBA’s second-worst record have a 55.83% chance of keeping the pick on lottery night — a 19.9% shot at the No. 1 pick, 18.81% at No. 2 and 17.12% at the third pick. Remember, every loss would only increase their odds of keeping the pick.

“I’m not coaching, looking at the clock, going, ‘All right, man, if we can just turn it over a few more times and miss a few more shots, this game is in the bag as far as a loss is concerned.’ That’s not me. We’re trying to win every game and trying to build something with the young guys that we have here,” said Scott, who has been criticized for curbing the development of rookies Russell and Julius Randle.

Lakers fans have marked their calendars, already. The draft pick will be surrendered if they fall below a certain spot in the May 17 lottery. To enhance their chances, Lakers need to hope that Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers notch up a few rare victories.