Lakers coach says only ‘idiots’ think Kobe Bryant makes team worse
Byron Scott isn’t buying into the stats that show the Lakers are better without Kobe.
In the first game he sat out for rest and “overall soreness,” the Lakers knocked off the NBA’s best team, Golden State. And it’s true; the numbers show that statistically, Los Angeles is much, much better with Bryant off the floor than on.
The Lakers outscore their opponents by about eight points more per 100 possessions when Bryant is on the bench, per NBA.com’s stats. If Los Angeles could sustain that number for their whole team, it’d be second-best in the league only behind the Warriors. The problem is that when Bryant takes the floor, their offense craters from 110 points per 100 possessions to 102 and the defense also gets much worse,
Lakers head coach Byron Scott must have heard people were passing these stats around and he addressed them recently.
“I just say those people are idiots,” Scott said to Sporting News. “He is one of the best to ever have played the game. When you take him off the team you are going to have nights where you struggle. And then you are going to have one night like we had [against the Warriors]. We are a much better team when Kobe is on the basketball court.”
On/off stats have some flaws and it’s still early in the season, so if Bryant was putting up good numbers, it might be best not to read too much into them. But Bryant is scoring 24.6 points a game on 37 percent shooting from the floor and 27 percent from the 3-point line with 3.5 turnovers a game. Consider his extreme offensive inefficiency and then look at how much better the Lakers are with him on the bench, and it’s a reasonable assumption to say Bryant is hurting the team.
Regardless, it won’t matter if Scott doesn’t see it that way for his 9-20 Lakers. Scott hasn’t announced yet whether Bryant will play Friday against the Mavericks, but even if he sits out another game Bryant will be back to missing shots soon.