Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak plans to have “informal meetings” with Byron Scott

LA Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said coach Byron Scott "has done an excellent job under the circumstances that he’s had to deal with the last two years." Photos by Brad Graverson/LANG/09-24-15

LA Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said coach Byron Scott “has done an excellent job under the circumstances that he’s had to deal with the last two years.” Photos by Brad Graverson/LANG/09-24-15

It usually seems like a foregone conclusion the Lakers make changes anytime their season does not end in a championship parade. Therefore, it seems inevitable a shakeup will happen after the Lakers finished the 2015-16 campaign with a franchise-worst 17-65 record.

Yet, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak argued that coach Byron Scott “has done an excellent job under the circumstances that he’s had to deal with the last two years.” As Scott finished with a combined 38-126 through two years, the Lakers became mindful of a few things.

After playing only 35 games in the 2014-15 season because of season-ending right shoulder surgery, Kobe Bryant’s presence in his 20th and final season brought challenges with both his health and the hoopla surround his farewell tour. The Lakers also fielded a roster this season filled with talented albeit inexperienced players in D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown.

Scott and Kupchak spent most of Thursday completing exit meetings with players on Thursday. Kupchak shared he also spoke with Scott on Friday for about 45 minutes. But Kupchak did not articulate Scott’s job status other than saying he’s “under contract” entering the third season of a four-year deal worth $17 million. Kupchak added he plans to meet with Scott and Lakers vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss in “an informal lunch at some point in the next week or two.”

“Anything is possible,” Kupchak said. “All I anticipate is some informal meetings and moving on from there.”

Scott previously expressed optimism he would coach in the 2016-17 season and that he did not sense any need to feel concerned about his job status. Scott also believed “we’re all still on the same page.”

And yet..

“I know he’s hoping that he coaches here forever, but a lot of times what we do is we’re really preparing for the next GM or the next coach. That’s tough sometimes,” Kupchak said. “It does take time to develop young players. We’ll know in two or three years how effective Byron was as a parent to the young guys on this team.”

Though Kupchak said it “remains to be seen” how the Lakers’ young players responded to Scott’s direct and critical coaching style, the Lakers’ general manager observed Scott had “total and complete respect.”

“Byron runs a tight ship,” Kupchak said. “Byron makes sure players are where they need to be. They’re ready to practice. Practices are organized. You better be rested if you practice for the Lakers. You better be ready to work if you’re going to practice for the Lakers.”

Kupchak also argued Byron became ready to embrace the modern NBA, including analytics. During the 2014-15 season, Scott often dismissed the use of analytics in today’s game, while touting about the need to evaluate and use talent based off of player experience, making on-court observations and handling personalities.

Since then, the Lakers promoted assistant Clay Moser to become the director of basketball strategy. The Lakers also made public their analytics staff, including Yuju Lee, Aaron Danielson, Rudy Tomjanovich and Trey Tomjanovich.

“Every day there would be data, charts and graphs and information passed on from our department to our coaching staff,” Scott said. “I don’t think Byron was susceptible or likely to listen to that his first year. I think he’s been versatile to it this year, open to changes and looking at things differently.”

RELATED:

Kobe Bryant’s teammates in awe over his 60-point performance in final game

Lakers’ young core say they are accepting high expectations from Kobe Bryant, Byron Scott

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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  • Cam Vance

    Mitch, you can say what you like about Byron Scott but here are the facts. After this season of being a head coach, Byron Scott now has the worst coaching record of any NBA coach in league history with a minimum 15 years coaching. He also just set the new Lakers franchise record for worst season this year, eclipsing all mind you the record he set last year. So you currently have the NBA’s all time worst winning percentage coach who has set new Laker low’s 2 year running, oh wait and just to add on to that, his players hate him. He spent the entire year throwing his 19-20 year old lottery picks under the bus to the media. So lets see you are the worst coach in NBA history and your current roster hates you. Mitch, are you serious that you might bring this guy back and place the future of your franchise in his hands?