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Byron Scott: Lakers ‘better be ready to play some defense’

Jul 28, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

Byron Scott will be the new head coach of the Lakers.

Even though the team hasn’t yet officially announced the hiring due to “some little details” that need to be ironed out, he’s agreed in principle to the four-year, $17 million deal that was originally reported on Saturday.

Scott is already giving interviews explaining his excitement over his new role, and wants to make it clear that he will be trying to make the Lakers a defensive team above all else.

From Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com:

“I’m a little tired tonight,” Scott told ESPN.com late Sunday night after returning from a trip to the Caribbean. “But I’m extremely excited about the job, extremely excited about the opportunity to bring the purple and gold back up to championship-caliber basketball.”

Scott said he’s been texting with Lakers star Kobe Bryant throughout the summer and conferring about this year’s team. Bryant texted Scott this weekend after news broke that he had accepted the job.

“He told me he was working out with Wesley [Johnson] and Nick [Young],” Scott said. “I told them that sounded great, but ‘they better be ready to play some defense.’ “

The Lakers finished 28th in defensive efficiency last season, and sure, part of that can be blamed on Mike D’Antoni and his diminished interest in stressing the importance in playing on that end of the floor. But a lot of it also has to do with personnel, and the injuries that forced so many random lineups to be thrown together at various points throughout the season.

The question becomes whether or not Scott is capable of getting the desired results.

As we’ve detailed previously (with some help from John Schuhmann at NBA.com), Scott’s Cavaliers team was historically bad defensively. In fact, he’s the only coach since the league expanded to 30 teams to lead one that finished in the bottom five in defensive efficiency for three straight seasons. You can blame that on the roster if you want, but Mike Brown, for example, took Cleveland immediately from 27th to 17th in that category last season.

Scott is right to want to stress defense, but saying it and implementing the proper schemes are two different things. Maybe he fills out his coaching staff with some strong defensive-minded assistants, but if not, and he is able to turn the defense around, it’ll be the first time in a long time he’s proven capable of doing so.

  1. loubearkane - Jul 28, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him play D.

    • 4thquartermagic - Jul 28, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      I think Scott was just being honest. Basically saying “I hope y’all come ready to play some defense because I can’t teach it for s**t.”

      • loungefly74 - Jul 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        this is horrible of me..but your comment made me think of that scene in Spaceballs where those guys are “combing the desert”..and they say…”we aint found s*#T!”

        i apologize…carry on.

  2. toddm1016 - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    They don’t have any rim protectors or quality perimeter defenders. Do not see how they will stop anybody.

    • unxpexted1 - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      At the end of the day defense is about effort. Even if you don’t have a rim protector and quality perimeter defenders (Even though i’d argue wesley johnson and xavier henry are above average defenders), if you can just play hard on defense that will at least make things difficult for the other team. Will you be a top five D? No, but you can still be middle of the pack with effort and a good scheme.

      • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        I was gonna say the same thing.

  3. rajbais - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    4 years???

    He’s never had more than 3.25 or 3.5 winning seasons as a coach.

    I couldn’t have given him that kind of contract cuz none of the other 29 teams would.

    • vg777 - Jul 28, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      good thing you are not the one handing out contracts.

  4. csbanter - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    The Lakers will make the playoffs this season because overall the roster is better (Kobe is coming back, duh) adding Randle, Ed Davis, Boozer will help the frontcourt. Better days are ahead for the Lakers.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM

      I’d like to see the Lakers acquire a quality center before we start talking playoffs. In the East, it is probably a low seed, but in the West, it will be tough without a real center.

    • iritian - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      The Lakers will improve all the way to 11th place in the west this season.

    • loungefly74 - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      love the optimism, banter…but it would be a miracle.

      • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:54 PM

        Using the word miracle so loosely. Smh.
        Make it seem like he said win a championship.

      • loungefly74 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:17 PM

        just trying to be real, money. the west is stacked. i would love the Lakers to make the playoffs, of course…

    • skins26portis - Jul 28, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      I agree the Lakers will make the playoffs in the west as the 9th seed . Oh shoot they didn’t expand the playoff format to 9th yet. Child please you Laker fans are delusional .

  5. chargerdillon - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    I would pay money to see Byron Scott yell at Kobe for not playing defensive enough. In fact as a Laker fan, seeing that conflict on the court is about the closest thing the Lakers will get to a moral victory.

    Either Scott plays yes-man and shuts up and lets Kobe run the team, or he actually stands up to him and acts like the coach. I tend to think the former is going to happen.

    • realfootballfan - Jul 28, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      You must not follow Byron. He wasn’t a yes man to Magic when he played, and he’s been a Larry Brown type personality as a coach who gets the most out of teams he coaches but grates most of them in a short period. This guy’s old school.

    • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      You would pay money for turmoil ?
      You’re whacked up in the head.

  6. sportsfan18 - Jul 28, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    The Lakers record this season won’t be Scott’s fault.

    The Lakers were ranked 27th by this site in an article a bit ago.

    Whether they should be 24th, 27th, 28th, or even 23rd makes no difference.

    They’ll be BAD this season and that is NOT on Bryon Scott.

    Beginning to wonder whether my stated win total for them is too high (high 30’s).

    I’m thinking 34 wins now for them.

    • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      What changed?
      Smh. Great detailing on your part.
      Not.

  7. unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - Jul 28, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Nash + Boozer + Nick Young + Old Kobe = 30th ranked defense in the league. Young Nash wasn’t much of a defender. Old Nash- with no Dwight Howard behind him? Yikes.

  8. haaaaasoooooo - Jul 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Kobe heard that he was going to have to play D, and he and Buss are already discussing which coach to get NEXT!

    • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      Yeah because Kobe really hates defense.
      So many dumb basketball observers in this world with bad jokes to go along with it.

  9. mackcarrington - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    It’s fascinating that Kobe works out with Nick Young, yet he doesn’t allow him to speak to him.

    • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      And you know this how exactly

      • bball242322 - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        Smush Parker said on ESPN when he was getting grilled by a reporter that Kobe told Smush that he doesn’t have enough accolades to speak to him. I was surprised Kobe was that much of a prick

      • money2long - Jul 28, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        when did nick young transform into smush?

    • unxpexted1 - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      geesh people get all carried away after one joke

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