By John Strege
Will the Los Angeles Lakers’ search for a new coach lead them to the golf course?
Among those reportedly under consideration to replace Mike D’Antoni is former Lakers guard Byron Scott, who is such an avid golfer that there are those who are not convinced of his commitment to basketball.
“The question, fundamentally,” Bleacher Report NBA columnist (and a former Lakers beat writer) Kevin Ding wrote, “is whether Scott has the drive [critics say he might actually prefer golf to basketball].”
Indisputably Scott, 53, enjoys his golf. He is a member of Marbella Country Club in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and has a handicap index of 4.0 (he’s been as low as a 3.4). GHIN.com (Golf Handicap and Information Network) shows that he posted eight scores in April and nine in March.
Near the end of his tenure as coach of the New Orleans Hornets in 2009, only a year after being named NBA Coach of the Year, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports wrote this:
“The slacker son of the New Orleans Hornets owner went to Los Angeles with the team and began to grumble about the priorities of the coach. Yes, it was over for Byron Scott now. The old man had crowned Chad Shinn with a VP title and authority on choosing the Honeybees, and even he knew Scott failed to understand the urgency of his plight. With three games in four nights, his franchise in freefall, the coach was planning tee times in SoCal.”
Wojnarowski also noted that a Hornets trip from Los Angeles to Phoenix “had been pushed back to accommodate the coach’s golf game.”
Scott’s next coaching job was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. During the NBA lockout in 2011, a Cleveland Plain Dealer story had this headline: “NBA lockout gives a boost to Byron Scott's golf game.”
From Mary Schmitt Boyer’s story: “Scott has played more golf this summer than he ever has, thanks to the NBA lockout wiping out workouts and the summer league. He's down to a 6 handicap, ‘but if this lockout continues too much longer, I'll be down to a 2,’ he said, laughing.”
(Getty Images photo)