Byron Scott Really Doesn’t Like Today’s NBA Player

There is no denying that Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott is of the “old school” variety. 

While he hasn’t confiscated a child’s ball that just so happened to end up in his back yard (that we know of), Scott has hinted many of times that he misses his era of the NBA. Throughout the season, he has frequently lauded coaches like George Karl, Greg Popovich and Jerry Sloan.  He has reminisced about days of old when players wanted to beat their rivals rather than joining them, and he has questioned what truly motivates “today’s” NBA player.  After all, he called today’s NBA landscape “scary,” as in “things sure aren’t like they used to be.”

Alas, it comes as little surprise that Scott is wholly disgusted with the last year of player movement within the league in which he played for 14 seasons.  He just won’t put his mental angst in to on-record words.

“You don’t want to know my opinion on what happens with players today, so I’m going to leave that alone,” said a visually-frustrated Scott following Tuesday afternoon’s practice. “You’re going to [try and] get me talking about it, but I really don’t want to voice my opinion on how I really feel about our league and our players – I’m going to leave it alone.”

A noble effort of toung-biting to say the least.

While his Cavaliers team was negatively impacted by free agent-based events of the past summer, Scott’s issues exist more with players under contract attempting to dictate where they finish said contract out.  During his days in the league, players stuck with their teams for considerable amounts of time, with big-name movement being a bit more scare than it is today. Scott also takes umbrage with the fact that players who mind their own business, come to work every day and do not have media-fueled trade rumors get thrown in to the mix as if they’re merely token ingredients within a big vat of soup.

People like Chauncey Billups (who has stated his negative feelings about leaving Denver), Wilson Chandler (who wanted to stay in New York) and even Sheldon Williams (who was dealt merely to make numbers match) get added into these deals solely because of one player who has made this entire season a 25-point-per game charade.

As Ethan Sherwood Straus said in January, “Too often we use the ESPN Trade Machine and unfounded rumors to discuss player movement as commodities trading.”  Scott discussed how these rumors can effect players around this time of year as several of his own have been involved in the media whirlwind.  He also addressed his own feelings, stating that it took him a good five or six seasons before he was able to fully ignore his name being in various mid-February line items. 

Scott and the Cavaliers opt to ignore much of what is said and do not address any rumors with players on the team.  As the coach of the franchise, it is his job to prepare the 15 players whom he is provided during any given season.  The rest, Scott says, is up to Chris Grant who continues to take and make phone calls with the trade deadline less than 48 hours away.

“I’m glad [the Carmelo Anthony trade] over so we can stop reading and hearing about it,” Scott firmly stated.

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • mike

    Just talked about this last nite with all my friends, the NBA isn’t the same. I watched as Lebron, Bosh, and Wade tried to pull off an arrogant alley-oop up by 25 on the Kings in the 3rd quarter. They were all laughing, and the Kings stood there and did nothing. I don’t understand why these guys stand around wanting to be embarrassed? I guess its just the type of players they are, and although I am around the same age as most of these guys, I didn’t get paid to play High School and College sports, but always wanted to win, and hated the person playing against me.
    And all this moving around to shack up with other good players is ridiculous. And I hope it blows back up in the NBA’s face.

  • Vengeful Pat

    @mike I second that opinion. I hate all of the moving around to be with your buddies or move to your favorite city or whatever other crap is happening. Be proud that you are playing in the NBA and give the team that is paying your salary 100% effort.

  • The Conductor

    Immediately after this interview Byron Scott sat back down on the bench and returned to staring into the distance. He patted his front pocket and the timeouts he had saved from the last game.

    One day he will have saved up enough of them so he’ll be able to run up to the 2nd level and buy a 8 dollar hotdog from Chef Simon.

  • Stinkfist

    I like this guy. He’s been in a tough spot, and while you could debate how good of a job he is doing, he certainly has the right attitude. That’s what develops with experience. I’m excited for the Cavs 2-3-4 years from now

  • mmonast

    Today’s NBA is filled with attenion craving egomaniacs who care more about being a brand and multi-millionaires than winning. I havent watched much NBA since the decision and i don’t think I have missed much.

    Soon the NBA will have a handful of teams that will have a chance of winning (knicks,heat, etc) and it seems like FA will only want to go to big cities or places with their buddies…maybe stern sees this as a problem maybe he doesn’t. To me, it’s a problem how can teams like the cavs even hope to compete

    Maybe they will introduce a “franchise” tag like the NFL…unfortunately for us, too little too late

  • C-Bus Kevin

    I’m not sure how the players can get so disconnected from reality. It seems like, in their minds, they are paid to play basketball. If they can do it with their friends, then so be it…no matter how many empty arenas they leave in their wake.

    In reality, they are paid to put butts in the seats. Without fan interest, THERE IS NO NBA!!!

    Players are always talking about respecting the guys that “paved the way” for the success they enjoy. Well, these players are paving a parking lot where arenas used to stand.

    Sorry to get dramatic, but I truly think we’re nearing a tipping point with professional sports. The NFL and NASCAR are the most popular sports in the US, and even they can’t fill their venues on a regular basis. Some might blame it on the recession, but I say it’s player disconnect. If they are SO rich and comfortable that they can’t even pretend to care when someone embarrasses them in public, then people that watch them won’t care either.

    They owe it to us, the ones that pay their salary, to give a crap about the outcome, and the truth is, they just don’t. Here’s a thought…you want competitive sports? Get off your butt and join a rec league. You’ll find more passion in one ‘weekend warrior’ than you would on an entire NBA roster.

    /feeling particularly miffed today

  • Scott

    “Some might blame it on the recession, but I say it’s player disconnect.”

    Perhaps, but I also think a lot of it has to do with how much better the at-home experience is. High-definition, replay, video capture equipment, Twitter, Cover it Live… Couple all of this with the abovementioned discretionary income variable, and leagues will not have to battle each other (or their players), they’ll have to battle the 46″ LED with 7.1 surround.

  • Harv 21

    In truth, every ex-player believes that he played in the sport’s golden era. When Byron played, coaches were complaining about the lack of interest in defense, players ignoring fundamentals and being overpaid and lazy. Before that, it was (legit) complaints about the selfish, black-hole offenses of stars like George Gervine, Adrien Dantley, Mark Aguirre. Maravich would bring the ball up himself and launch from barely inside midcourt. Ten years ago, complaints that players could only dunk, couldn’t shoot. Now it’s that players are immature, out of touch, disloyal global icon-wannabees.

    As far as how the game is being played, this era is great, so let’s enjoy it. The best players are trying to defend, the pass has made a huge comeback. Let’s at least enjoy what’s happening on the floor. Here’s what would be surprising: a coach says “you know, these players today get it, in my era we really did not.”

  • Swig

    While I completely agree with Scott…

    Don’t forget how much fun we had while the Cavs were dancing around on the sideline in blowout wins. The shoe looks different on the other foot or something.

  • ben

    Deron Williams to the Nets…

    Another team that made it to the Conference Finals only a 3 seasons ago is now completely irrelevant. Welcome to the New NBA.

  • Ben

    Scott is 100% right and that is part of the bigger problem. It has nothing to do with butts in the seats anymore. It has everything to do with TV contracts. You are more valuable to the league watching from home paying your cable or satellite bill or league packages then you are coming to their arena.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    @ Ben…I’m not sure that’s really true.

    While TV contracts are certainly a big deal, the league cannot survive with TV contracts alone. They need people in the arena.

    One of the big issues heading into this lockout is that there are several teams that aren’t making money. In fact, they are losing quite a bit. After this season, this will probably include the Cavs.

    And for the record, while I agree with Scott to an extent (it’s way less expensive, and in many ways, way more fun to watch a game at a sports bar), player disconnect doesn’t stop negatively affecting interest at the arena gate. If people lose interest, they don’t watch on TV, ratings go down, contracts become less valuable, etc.

    The simple fact is that none of these leagues are the institutions they believe themselves to be. Maybe the future of pro sports in America looks more like pro soccer in Europe. You have levels of leagues. If you win enough, you move up a league and vice versa.

    At least that way, small markets would be competing with teams on their own level.

  • Roosevelt

    Count me out of the value-judgement doom-and-gloom. I don’t see that anything is endemic. Shaq left the Magic before Duncan stayed with San Antonio. Lebron was classless, and his particular circle seems to buy into the act. But the pendulum will swing. There are advantages to not living in NY or LA, and those other teams will have good players again too.

  • Dave P.

    Mike @1 – totally agree. I can’t tell you how many times I see a guy get dunked or showboated on, and think that Laimbeer or Oakley would have paralyzed someone for doing that.

    Harv @ 8 is right that it’s typical for coaches and ex-players to complain about the next generation, but I believe that this generation of players is different. This is the first generation to come up mainly through the AAU system — the cultural and basketball differences that can be attributed to AAU are well documented.

  • Shamrock

    Amen Byron I knew I liked him. Btw Deron Williams traded from Utah to NJ in three team deal. I wonder how Jerry Sloan feels.

  • Mike

    Sorry Coach Scott, but how did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar end up on that Lakers team you won a title with?

  • mgbode

    @shamrock – do you really think Sloan didn’t know that Deron was being traded before he retired? I’m sure he was the Knicks and Nets backup plan for whoever didn’t get Melo.

  • sealedhuman
  • 6thCity

    I think it’s worth weighing the rarity of congrous events that occurred this year- a draft class with huge talent reaching FA, an uncertain future for the CBA… When it rains it pours. If anything, the media events of the Decision and the summer and Melo every 15 minutes will be replaced by consternation and lament over the shape of the league and off-espn, real discussions like we find here will inform the changes to the league we all expect. Here’s hoping, anyhow.

  • CLE

    Most NBA players (and many in other sports) are more interested in a lifestyle then the game. They are there for the money- not points, wins, respect, or titles.

  • CLE

    Most NBA players (and many in other sports) are more interested in a lifestyle than the game. They’re there for the money- not points, wins, respect, or titles.

  • NJ

    For the life of me, I don’t understand the appeal of the NBA. The competitive balance is, and has always been, so completely out of whack that it takes away all enjoyment from the game.

    I learned this the hard way watching the Fratello led Cavaliers season after season. Hard play and quality coaching guaranteed them eternal mediocrity. Nice way to arrange your league, NBA.

    In Scott’s day, players did the same thing and chased championships too; it was usually just later in their careers. Also, this talk of three or four “superteams” in the NBA is bull too – it’s always been that way. Simply glancing at the teams that have made the Finals over the last 30 years will show you that.

    Why anyone likes the NBA is beyond me. It’s a shame because basketball is a great sport.

  • christopher

    and this is the reason the NFL will always be king of the leagues…

    every team and fan of the NFL operates under the hope they are 1-2 draft players or free agents away from the playoffs and superbowl.

    that hope is kept alive by the ability for NFL teams to hold on to their franchise player while still drafting from a much bigger talent pool due to the stipulations put in place by the league to keep the league itself alive. (a much shorter season and impact of each game helps as well of course)

    but the NBA and MLB will always play second and third fiddle due to the inability for it to self govern. Both leagues have now allowed revenue rebellions and players to demand their movements versus the NFL which ensures players know they are a gifted bunch but you are lucky you made it this far so sit down, shut up and play the game.

  • Harv 21

    Christopher- agree with your overall point but think the main reason is not the NFL’s ability to block unfettered player movement, etc. It’s the equitable sharing of the billion-dollar tv contracts, combined with a hard cap, that lets the NFL give hope to fans in all its cities. Here’s your pile of money, you can spend this much on salary … go!!!

    Love that a team owned by the quiet small-time Rooneys consistently outperforms a team owned by uber-rich loudmouth dudes like Dan Snyder. It’s a meritocracy, baby, and very comforting that the only thing keeping the Mike Browns and Randys from competing is their inability to keep from stepping on their own, um, appendages.

  • Shamrock

    @17 I have no idea but I’m sure Williams had his pout on and if I had to guess Sloan probably got tired of it. The very same subject Byron Scott addressed.

  • buckeyeCIC

    Sports in many ways mirrors the society that we have become, self obsessed and shallow.

  • christopher

    Harv – also combining our two points the reason for the higher tv contracts with the NFL is due to the fewer games making them much more precious to sign to the major networks for broadcast.

    the only thing that can save the NBA will be a hard cap and franchise tag.

    hey look at this…Cleveland begging for a hard cap after we spent 7 years in the luxury tax.

  • James

    lol at save the NBA

    The NBA hasn’t been this popular in years.

    I don’t feel bad for the owners. You make good decisions: it pays off. Only 1 team can win the chip. The NBA is one of the few leagues where the players have any power and a lot people don’t like it. Shocking.

  • Rick

    All the professional sports have lost sight of what the word TEAM is all about. Just follow the money. I have all but given up on watching many sporting events, can’t stand the attitudes and the dancing around. Why fans do not show as much excitement about their families and their life as they do for their favorite team amazes me.

  • saggy

     what are the advantages to living in cleveland, other than the crappy weather, terrible job market, and anemic social scene?