Former Lakers star James Worthy, who is an analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, believed Byron Scott would have been retained despite coaching the Lakers to a combined 38-126 record through two seasons. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The affection James Worthy holds for the Lakers’ franchise seems as versatile as the skillset he once brought during the beloved Showtime Era.
Worthy has remained one of the organization’s longtime television analysts first with KCAL-9 and currently with Time Warner Cable Access SportsNet. He happily represented the Lakers during the NBA draft lottery two years ago when they received the seventh overall pick. Last season, James helped the Lakers’ players as a consultant.
Yet, Worthy argued on Monday that the Lakers should have retained his former teammate Byron Scott as the franchise’s head coach for the 2016-17 season.
“I’m not surprised,” Worthy said on TWC SportsNet, mindful of Scott’s combined 38-126 record through two seasons. “I just thought they’d give him at least until February or half the season before they made that decision.”
Instead, the Lakers decided on Sunday night they would not exercise their team option to retain Scott for his third season. Worthy acknowledged the “coach is responsible” as the Lakers finished the last two seasons with their worst records in franchise history. Yet, Worthy cited external variables that he argued became more difficult to hold Scott at fault.
Kobe Bryant experienced season-long challenges with his health before appeared in 66 out of 82 games in his 20th and final NBA season, including the season-finale where he posted 60 points on 22-50 shooting. Though he did not suffer a season-ending injury as he did in the previous three seasons, Bryant averaged only 17.6 points on a career-low 35.8 percent mark from the field. Meanwhile, the Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown all sparked both intrigue with their long-term potential and angst with their short-term growing pains.
“For the young players, it’s going to take them some time,” Worthy said. “It was almost like a baby was born on Monday and you expected them to be walking on Friday. I know that’s hard for fans to understand.”