The stern tone in Byron Scott’s voice has often risen amid the Lakers’ debilitating losses through nearly two NBA seasons. During those times, Scott often has warned he could make lineup changes soon.
Amid the Lakers’ worst record in franchise history last season, Scott promised to reevaluate his starting lineup after every 20 games. After that mark this season, Scott yanked the starting positions from D’Angelo Russell and Randle despite both players representing the Lakers’ lottery picks in the past two years.
“I don’t consider it a motivational tactic,” Scott said. “But does it help motivate some guys? Sometimes. They know they’ll get a chance to play if all else fails with the other guys.”
Scott said he never had to do such things when he coached in New Jersey (2000-2004) and New Orleans (2004-2009). The Nets went to two consecutive NBA Finals, while the Hornets made two playoff appearances.
But when he coached Cleveland (2010-2013), Scott once yanked all his starters except for Shaun Livingston after the Cavaliers quickly trailed 11-0 against Washington during a regular-season game that they won.
“One thing I did last year and I made no bones about it is I didn’t want guys to feel comfortable,” Scott said. “It’s the same thing with [Randle and Russell] when I took them out. It got to the point where I think they felt comfortable. They thought they had really earned that spot. I wanted to change that mentality.”