Byron Scott Reveals the Player Who Was Hardest for Him to Coach
Byron Scott played 11 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. He then spent the final two seasons of his 15-year coaching career in LA after being the head man for three other teams.
Scott transitioned into the coaching ranks immediately after his playing days. He began with a two-year stint as an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings before landing his first head coaching gig with the New Jersey Nets in the 2000-01 season. Scott coached his final game with the Lakers in the 2015-16 season. Recently, during a conversation with former Lakers teammate Michael Cooper, he revealed which player was the toughest for him to coach.
Byron Scott spent 29 years in the NBA as a player, coach
Scott won three NBA championships while playing for the Lakers. He also suited up for the Indiana Pacers and the Vancouver Grizzlies before returning to the Lakers as a reserve for the 1996-97 season. After that year, he played professionally in Greece. When he returned the following season, he became an assistant coach with the Kings.
Scott landed his first head coaching job in the 2000-01 season, taking over a struggling Nets team. He won 26 games in his first year. The following season, the Nets landed point guard Jason Kidd in a trade with the Phoenix Suns, and the Nets went 52-30, reaching the 50-win mark for the first time in franchise history.
Not only did the Nets win the Atlantic Division, but they made their way to the NBA Finals, where they were swept by the Lakers. Scott and the Nets returned to the Finals the following season as well but fell to the San Antonio Spurs in six games.
In his fourth season with the Nets, they were 22-20 at the All-Star break, and Scott was fired during the season. After that ugly first season, Scott went 123-83, yet he was fired in his fourth year.
He hooked on with the New Orleans Hornets in 2004 and struggled through an 18-win season. The following year, they drafted Chris Paul, who helped them improve their win total by 20 games. He went 203-216 in six seasons with New Orleans. He closed out his coaching career with three unsuccessful years with the Cleveland Cavaliers and two uneventful seasons with the Lakers.
Scott revealed the hardest player for him to coach
During his 16 years of coaching in the NBA, Scott had some superstars. He also had some players who were tough to coach. During an episode of his Off the Dribble podcast, Cooper flat-out asked him who was the hardest player for him to coach.
“I coached Kenyon (Martin), I coached Jason Kidd, I coached Baron Davis, Chris Paul,” Scott told Cooper. “Chris Paul might’ve been the easiest superstar I’ve ever had to coach.
“Kenyon might’ve been one of the hardest to coach because Kenyon had a way of doing this his way, but once he got involved in the game or practice, he’d give you everything he got. Kenyon would come up and say, ‘Coach, I’m T-I Red.’ I was like, what? ‘I’m T-I red, Tired. Can’t practice today.'”
When that became a habit with Martin, Scott came up with a plan.
“I developed a thing with our strength coach,” Scott said. “I said, ‘If guys can’t practice, I want you to tear their ass up, and I want you to work them so hard that they don’t want to be with you.’
“So, I was like, ‘All right, Kenyon. Go over there with such and such. He’s just going to work you out today.’ About a week later, he comes over, ‘Coach, T-I red today.’ I said, ‘Well, go over there with him.’ He said, ‘Nah, I’ll practice.'”
“As much as I loved Kenyon, he might’ve been one of the most difficult guys to coach because it was hard just getting him to practice. Once he practiced, he was great. When that ball went up, Kenyon Martin would give you 110 percent, and he’s gonna go after people. I loved that about him. But just getting him to practice was like pulling teeth.”