Byron Scott finally cracked. The pressure of coaching the Lakers, the frustration of dealing with Nick Young and the anguish of such an abysmal season must have finally gotten to Scott, because no sane person would make this statement:
Kobe played 35 games this year, averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists with a 17.7 PER. In other words, in no sane universe is his name in the same breath as real MVP candidates like James Harden, Steph Curry or Russell Westbrook. But maybe we’re being too harsh on Scott, or at least misinterpreting the quote. Here are a few possibilities as to what the Lakers’ coach actually meant by this statement.
1. By “in the conversation,” maybe he actually meant Kobe should be the one talking about the MVP race, not himself. It would actually be pretty interesting to hear Kobe’s thoughts on the award, given his admiration for Russell Westbrook.
2. He actually does think Kobe should be the MVP, in which case, the Lakers are in even bigger trouble than we originally thought.
3. In the world of anime and manga, there’s a term used for when a series uses or inserts material simply to please the fans: fan service. This is essentially what Scott’s doing, only instead of giving the fans what they want to hear, he’s saying what Kobe wants to hear. After all, Scott doesn’t want to anger his coach.
4. Scott thought April Fool’s Day was April 5, not the first.
5. This is the official company line, handed down from Jeanie Buss herself. Scott could actually think Steph Curry or James Harden is the actual MVP, but per company policy, he simply can’t give his true opinion.
6. In Scott’s head, the season has played out completely different. Kobe returned totally healthy, and went on a scoring tear the likes of which the league had never seen, leading the Lakers to a surprising playoff berth. Not only was Kobe a scoring machine, averaging 40 points per game with a 30 PER, he was averaging 12 assists, seven rebounds and playing elite defense.
7. Scott’s next career move, after coaching, is stand-up comedian. He’s been going to comedy workshops during his off hours, and he thought this to be the perfect opportunity to try out some of his jokes.