Each week, ESPN.com Lakers beat writer Baxter Holmes, along with ESPN.com NBA writers Ramona Shelburne and Arash Markazi, will weigh in on three questions that are on the minds of Los Angeles Lakers followers.
1. Are you surprised Byron Scott would go public about how he already knows which players he wants back next season?
Holmes: It's a little jarring to see him be so blatantly critical with regard to such comments, but Byron has been that way basically all season, so I suppose we shouldn't really be surprised by anything at this point. Still, you have to wonder how it affects the players in the locker room and what players around the league think when they hear such comments coming from a head coach about his own players.
Shelburne: Not at all. The one thing Byron has been this season is clear about his feelings about players. There never really has been much doubt about how he feels about anyone. In some ways, I'm sure that's a little uncomfortable for players to hear. But in other ways, the honesty is refreshing.
Markazi: Not really. I think we all know who will most likely be back and who will most likely be gone. The season is almost over and there's no real need to massage egos or beat around the bush at this point.
2. Despite the Lakers' record, how do you assess the job Scott has done coaching this group?
Holmes: The only grade you could give him is incomplete. This team lost Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Julius Randle, Xavier Henry and Nick Young to season-ending injuries, but even if they had that crew at full strength, they'd still probably miss the playoffs in the brutal Western Conference. Scott knew what he was getting into when he took this job. The team has performed about as well as anyone expected, given the circumstances -- i.e., lack of talent.
Shelburne: It's really impossible to evaluate his coaching with a roster this bad. You can evaluate the way he held guys accountable, how hard they seem to play for him and the development of younger players such as Jordan Clarkson, Tarik Black and Ryan Kelly. Those are all positives. But honestly, I can't say much at all about his in-game strategy or schemes because so little about this season felt very meaningful.
Markazi: I think he has done a decent job given the circumstances. The team he had at the start of training camp never was a reality when the season began and he has had to deal with enough injuries to last a coaching career, let alone one season.
3. Is the Lakers' coaching staff good, as is, or do there need to be any changes?
Holmes: It's an interesting question, and one that needs to be examined when the Lakers have more talent on the roster. At the moment, though, I don't think any coach could win with this team. Still, the current staff hasn't exactly proven itself even if they're not working with much. If the roster is much improved in a season or two but is still performing as it is right now, then a complete overhaul is absolutely necessary.
Shelburne: Again, how can we really evaluate anything more than player development and attitude with this group of players? This group was kind of light on cutting edge, top-of-the line assistants when it was hired. But I'm not one who judges a staff based on reputation. If you have to grade based on the whole season, I'd give an incomplete.
Markazi: I'm sure you can always tweak coaching staffs for the better. Of all the areas that need to be overhauled this offseason though, the coaching staff is pretty low on the priority list, I think.