Byron Scott: Kobe wouldn’t make a good coach

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott has the tough task of getting his team back to playoffs after missing out last season, and a healthy Kobe Bryant is where it all begins.
Scott is impressed with Kobe’s progress:
“I’m expecting him to play 82 games and play well,” Scott said, via USA TODAY Sports. “To be honest with you, he’s a guy who’s going to still probably average 23, 24 points (per game). Our biggest thing is making sure he stays healthy.”
Bryant, who’s contract with the Lakers ends in 2015-16, is now 36 and no spring chicken as they say. Retirement could likely be on horizon.
After his career on the court, would Kobe consider being a coach?
Scott thinks it’s probably a bad idea.
“He’s too tough,” Scott said Tuesday, via Yahoo! Sports. “He would probably be a whole lot more demanding than Pat Riley, myself and guys like that. It would be tough. Plus, he would expect guys to play like him, to have that type of passion that he has for the game. And to have the love for

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Byron Scott explains why Kobe wouldn’t make a good coach

After a disappointing 2013 season, the Los Angeles Lakers are back with a new head coach and identity. But the players and coaching staff still have a lot of work ahead of them in order to return to a contender once again. The challenge for new HC Byron Scott lies in how to work alongside the “other” coach—ex-teammate Kobe Bryant. Bryant had actually done a better job “coaching” the team over the past few seasons than both Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni could manage, and it’ll be interesting to see how he and Scott jell in their new relationship. Scott recently touched on an intriguing topic, and weighed in about the possibility of Bryant coaching when he retires.

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Where Does OKC Thunder Turn If Scott Brooks Can’t Get Job Done This Season?

If the Oklahoma City Thunder decide that head coach Scott Brooks isn’t the man who can lead them to a championship, who should they look to replace him with?

Since taking over as head coach during the 2008-09 season, Brooks has compiled a regular-season record of 293-170 (63.3 percent). In the playoffs, his mark is 39-34 (53.4 percent). He’s finished under .500 once and has led the Thunder to the postseason every year for the past five seasons. He’s been to the Western Conference Finals twice, including a trip to the Finals during the 2011-12 season.  

Despite all of that, Brooks is one of a handful of coaches that are on the hot seat this season, according to BasketballInsiders.com’s Steve Kyler:

There is no question that the Thunder are on the clock, especially with star forward Kevin Durant inching closer to free agency in the summer of 2016. The Thunder have preached a message of continuity and instituted a strong development program, and that has paid dividends in OKC, but failing to reach the NBA Finals again before Durant’s free agency could spell disaster for the Thunder as the outside voices creep into the discussion and try to lure Durant out of OKC.

If Brooks were to get fired, Oklahoma City would become arguably the most attractive coaching destination in the league. With Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and a slew of young prospects, the right guy could turn the Thunder into a dynasty. However, if things don’t work out with Brooks, what should general manager Sam Presti look for in his next coach?

While the current coaching fad has been to hire players fresh out of retirement or the next hot assistant, the Thunder need someone a bit more seasoned. He should have considerable postseason experience and be able to bring the best out of this talented roster. Most importantly, he should be someone respected enough to keep Durant and Westbrook from considering playing elsewhere when their contracts are up. 

Here are a few candidates that would fit those requirements.

 

Mark Jackson

Prior to Mark Jackson’s arrival as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2011, the team had made the postseason just once during the previous 17 seasons. In three years, Jackson led the W’s to the playoffs twice.

During the last two seasons, the Warriors were a combined 98-66. Jackson helped transform them from an NBA laughingstock to an exciting young squad that was solid at both ends of the court. Jackson’s teams were in the top 12 of both offensive and defensive ratings the past two seasons. 

Still, those numbers couldn’t spare Jackson from the firing squad this past season. According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Jackson’s dismissal was less about the team’s inability to make deep postseason runs and more about personal conflicts:

Jackson clashed constantly with management and struggled to manage his coaching staff during his Warriors tenure. Jackson’s lack of interest in game preparation and reluctance to practice despite a mostly young and gifted roster played a part in management’s reluctance to commit long term to him, league sources said.

While Jackson’s personality and lax practice habits are certainly red flags, the hope here is that Jackson would learn from his mistakes in his second coaching stint. As much as he battled with the front office and his fellow assistants, his players seemed to adore him.

Point guard Stephen Curry, during a promotional event for the upcoming NBA 2K15 video game, called Jackson’s firing “hard to deal with.”

As an NBA point guard for 17 years, Jackson’s vast experience would come in handy developing one of the league’s most explosive floor generals, Russell Westbrook. His commitment to excellence on offense and defense would be great for a team with the NBA’s best scorer in Kevin Durant and one of its best shot-blockers in Serge Ibaka

Jackson’s coaching legacy shouldn’t end with the fatal flaws he made with Golden State. Very few young coaches hit the ground running the minute they are handed a clipboard. Doc Rivers had to fail with the Orlando Magic before becoming an NBA champion with the Boston Celtics.

However, Jackson’s ability to take the Thunder to a higher level would be dependent on him raising his game as well. Unlike in Golden State, he would be inheriting a team with a mandate to win now. The feuding with coaches and sub-par training habits aren’t going to fly in Oklahoma City.  

He would need to bring his uptempo style to a team that was built to run. With a stronger commitment to the game, Jackson could find redemption on his way to an NBA championship.

 

Jeff Van Gundy

Jeff Van Gundy hasn’t manned an NBA sideline since the 2006-07 season with the Houston Rockets, but his name seems to pop up every year when there’s a coaching vacancy. Earlier this offseason, his name was linked to the Memphis Grizzlies, per ESPN’s Marc Stein.  

Van Gundy has spent the last seven years as an analyst for ESPN. Even in the booth, Van Gundy’s love for the game shows through in his opinionated style. Every time he’s on the mic, you get the feeling that he wants to come back to coaching.

Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy, in a May appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, suggested that his brother is waiting for a good spot to come along: 

“I was only going to take a great job and I think Jeff’s the same way. If the right situation came around, where he really felt aligned with ownership, I think he would do it.” 

The chance to take over one of the NBA’s elite sure seems like the “right situation.” He would take over a group with far more talent than any of his teams with the Rockets or the New York Knicks. During his 11 years coaching both squads, Van Gundy missed the playoffs just twice. 

During the 1998-99 season, he famously led the eighth-seeded Knicks to the NBA Finals, where they lost to Tim Duncan’s Spurs in five games. He has a career record of 430-318 in the regular season (57.5 percent) and 44-44 in the playoffs (50 percent). 

Van Gundy would be an intriguing choice for the Thunder. Throughout his career, his forte has been a commitment to defense and preparation. His teams in New York and Houston didn’t rate very high offensively though. 

It would be interesting to see what Van Gundy could bring out of Durant and Westbrook defensively. Together, they could carry an offense with their ability to score from anywhere. Imagine how great both would be if Van Gundy could sharpen their skills on the other end of the court as well. 

Van Gundy also built his teams around strong big men, which was a testament to his defensive approach. He had Patrick Ewing and Marcus Camby on the Knicks. On the Rockets, he had Yao Ming. In Oklahoma City, he’d have to build around wing players like he did with Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston in New York. 

What truly makes Van Gundy a solid candidate is the reputation he built with those he coached in the past. His former players talk about him with the utmost respect and have fond memories of their time together (h/t Moke Hamilton of BasketballInsiders.com). 

I loved playing for him. There was no situation that I have faced in a game that I wasn’t prepared for,” said Shane Battier, who played under JVG in Houston. “Our teams were always prepared, always played hard and if you wanted a winning culture, he was your guy.”

Hamilton also added this:

That’s a sentiment that all of Van Gundy’s former players would agree with, even those who he had a tough time motivating, including, at times, the aforementioned (Tracy) McGrady. The same can be said about Steve Francis. Francis and Van Gundy had a major falling out in Houston immediately prior to Francis’ trade to the Orlando Magic back in June 2004, but Francis is on record as saying that he never doubted that the changes that Van Gundy requested of him were all done in the name of winning.

After a long time away from coaching, the key to Van Gundy’s success in today’s NBA will be his ability to adapt. In Oklahoma City, he’d have the best one-two punch in basketball in Durant and Westbrook, as well as the big man he typically covets in Ibaka

Together, the mixture of Van Gundy’s defensive teachings and the bevy of scorers on the roster should combine for one of the most balanced teams in the league. 

 

George Karl

If Brooks’ job were to become available, the search for the Thunder’s new leader should begin and end with George Karl. During his last 21 seasons as a head coach, Karl’s teams have never finished below .500. The last time he had a losing season was when he coached the Golden State Warriors…during the 1987-88 season.  

When we last saw Karl, he was leading the Denver Nuggets to a franchise-best 57 wins en route to earning the 2012-13 NBA Coach of the Year award. Despite that, the team still fired Karl after the season because of a contract dispute.

Karl has the sixth-most wins of any coach in NBA history with 1,131 wins. His career winning percentage is 59.9 percent. If there’s a knock on Karl’s illustrious career, it’s that his playoff record is 80-105 (43.5 percent). 

Still, throughout his career, Karl has been the brains behind some fantastic teams. He coached the Seattle SuperSonics from 1991-1998 with Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton leading the way. During the 1995-96 season, Karl led the Sonics to the NBA Finals before falling to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in six games. 

From there, he coached the Milwaukee Bucks for five seasons, molding such rising talents as Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson. He was one win away from his second Finals appearance in 2000-01, when he lost the Eastern Conference Finals to Allen Iverson‘s Philadelphia 76ers in seven games.

The last nine years of Karl’s coaching career came in Denver. During his tenure, he presided over the likes of Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Ty Lawson and other young stars. For the most part, those Nuggets teams struggled to get out of the first round. The lone exception came in 2008-09, when the team made the Western Conference Finals and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

After a year away from the game, Karl is interested in returning to coaching, per ESPN.com.

I’d be interested in the right coaching opportunity, but I respect the coaching profession too much to become a distraction to the process,” Karl said. “I would love the opportunity to probably talk to people, when they think I’m a person they should be talking to.”

Karl is 63 years old and not far removed from a battle with cancer. While his desire to coach again is understandable, there’s the issue of: for how long? His time with the Nuggets was the longest he’s ever spent with any one team and, at this point in his career, he’s more of a short-term fix than a long-term solution.

Still, with his history of winning and guiding young players, he’d be the perfect coaching upgrade for the Thunder. Even if Oklahoma City only got a handful of seasons out of Karl, they could feel safe knowing they have a respected veteran with a long track record of success at the helm.

One potential problem that could arise is Karl’s desire to play more proven players over developing young talent. He was criticized by the front office during his final season in Denver for not playing the team’s younger players, which was a claim he disputed in an interview with The Denver Post‘s Benjamin Hochman following Karl’s firing.   

We won 57 games and are in a great place. Continuity, consistency, togetherness all are so much more valuable than what they have on their priority list of playing JaVale McGee or the young players. And first of all, it shouldn’t be that I didn’t play young players. It’s I didn’t play young players enough, because we played a lot of young players—Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos, Evan Fournier at the end of the year, Ty Lawson. And, I never had a meeting where there was disappointment, in that part of it, voiced to me. I heard through whispers. I’m sorry that 57 wins doesn’t make you happy.

Regardless of which side you believe, Karl’s hesitance to play someone like McGee shouldn’t tarnish his record with young players, nor should it give the Thunder a reason to steer clear of him. Karl’s time developing legendary talents like Payton, Allen and Anthony should speak for itself. 

If Karl is ready to come back and Oklahoma City has a spot for him, he should be the Thunder’s guy. 

As for Brooks, this is a make-or-break season for him. His reluctance for change as well as his commitment to declining veterans such as Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha have been his downfall in the past. 

The Thunder have a roster capable of winning a championship. Durant and Westbrook are top 10 players. Ibaka continues to get better. Reggie Jackson is playing for a new contract. The team has depth now with Steven Adams, Jeremy Lamb and Anthony Morrow. There are no more excuses. 

The clock is ticking for Brooks. With plenty of qualified candidates ready to take his spot, he will either adapt or become a casualty. 

(All statistics courtesy of BasketballReference.com, unless noted otherwise. 

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Analyzing new Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott

Among the many dramatic storylines that dominated the NBA offseason was the search for the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The position was freed up when former coach Mike D’Antoni resigned, having had an abysmal tenure with a franchise-worst 27-55 record in the 2013-14 season and a 67-85 record overall. The position remained vacant throughout the summer, even as the Lakers revamped the roster, adding new players and resigning others. Rumors of the Lakers talking to the likes of Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson spread throughout the Internet. In late June, word came out that former Showtime Lakers guard-turned-NBA head coach Byron Scott had emerged as the favorite. After multiple interviews, Scott was hired on July 28, 2014.
Byron Scott is an accomplished NBA coach who now must take on the task of restoring the Lakers as a contender.
To many Lakers fans, this hire was accepted with mixed emotions. Scott has had success as an NBA head coach, inc

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Byron Scott reveals Lakers coaching staff additions

The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t made an official announcement, but head coach Byron Scott has detailed the coaching staff he will be bringing to the sidelines this season with the Lakers. His coaching staff will include his son Thomas Scott, Larry Lewis, Paul Pressey, Mark Madsen and Jim Eyen, reports the Los Angeles Daily News’ Mark Medina. Medina also notes that there is one spot remaining on the bench, and Scott confirmed he has met with Igor Kokoskov, as previously reported:

“I’ve talked to a couple of guys, one in particular that is from overseas,” Scott said. “That is not definitive. But I have met with him.”

Thomas Scott’s role with the team will be as a player development coach. He previously worked under his father as video coordinator and player development coach with the New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers, while also landing assistant coaching positions in the D-league. Lewis will remain on the Lakers’ player development s…

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Byron Scott Seeks Return to Traditional Principles

After experiencing decreasing returns in recent years, the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be making a concerted effort to rebrand themselves. But not in some modernistic, forward-thinking way. Instead, it’s a return to bedrock principles.

Byron Scott, the team’s new head coach, is leading the charge, embracing traditional concepts like team responsibility. You’ll hear phrases like “it starts with defense” more than the small-ball manifestos that have become so commonplace in the new NBA.

The Lakers even positioned three of Scott’s former Showtime teammates behind him at his introductory press conference as a show of support. Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes offered words of welcome and encouragement. Johnson talked about the excitement of getting “back to playing Lakers basketball.”

It’s as if the organization is putting as much conscious distance as possible between its new retro mindset and the one espoused by Mike D’Antoni.

A coach so intrinsically linked with free-flowing, score-first basketball has been replaced by one whose mandate is to stop the ball.

During the presser, per Lakers.com, Scott responded to a question about enforcing defensive responsibility:

The only thing you can really control with players is their minutes. That gets their attention. So, if you’re not out there and playing defense the way I think you’re capable of playing or the way we should be playing defense, then I’m going to have to find other guys who will.

And what about the offensive end of the floor?

Scott is planning on using elements of a system that date back to the Princeton Tigers men’s basketball team of the 1930s. Interestingly, the Princeton offense was briefly introduced at the start of the Lakers’ 2012-13 season under coach Mike Brown.

Brown was fired after five games and replaced by D’Antoni, who had no use for old-school concepts—he was ready to run the open floor. And then the next two seasons happened.

During a Grantland podcast taped last March, Steve Nash was asked by Bill Simmons about that short-lived Princeton experiment. Here’s how Nash responded:

It’s a really intricate, detailed offense that has real rules. And, it’s a beautiful thing—the Princeton offense is beautiful. I just don’t know if it was the right thing. And I think in some ways, if it had been this summer, it would have never happened because analytics probably would have been… I feel like the analytics movement has never been, like ‘oh, the Princeton, that would suit analytics.’ That movement’s kind of turned a corner to where it doesn’t seem like it.

But Nash is about to come face-to-face with non-analytics once again.

During his press conference, Scott spoke about an offense he has used in varying degrees throughout his career as a coach:

The Princeton offense, you have to know how to play the game of basketball. It’s like the triangle, a lot of similarities. I know that Kobe’s very familiar with it. But there’s different varieties to the Princeton offense. There’s like five different sets that you can call the Princeton offense. And we won’t get into all of them, and we won’t even try to work on all of them. Like I said, it’s going to be a mixture of things that I think can make this team more successful.

Scott recently sat down with Mike Trudell for Lakers.com, talking about a range of basketball topics. Naturally, the subject of defense came up. Trudell pointed out the lack of rim protectors on the roster and asked the new coach how he’ll compensate for that. Scott talked about stopping dribble penetration before it even gets that far:

You’re going to have to play a lot of help the helper to keep the ball from getting into the paint. That’s a lot of rotations, a lot of help, a lot of stunt and recover, where the guy with the ball sees one-and-a-half or two defenders every single time. You want to clog up the paint as much as possible and make the opponent take contested jump shots.

Writing for Forum Blue and Gold, Darius Soriano compared how bad the Lakers were on the defensive end last season to what Scott will be asking of his players:

Playing defense in the scheme that he describes is as much about want as it is ability. Players have to want to make the extra rotation; they have to want to be there for a teammate and not let the integrity of the scheme fail because of their personal mistake. When you combine that want with discipline—and a bunch of it—you are on the path to where you want to go.

One player that will be on the same path with Scott is Kobe Bryant, still the team’s franchise star and eager to get back onto the floor after sitting out all but six games last season due to injury. Bryant is as fierce and competitive a player as there is in basketball, even at age 36. This will be a full-circle season for Bryant in many ways—as a rookie, 18 long years ago, he was mentored by none other than Scott.

The two share a passion for the game and a work ethic that owes to an earlier era. And for all the impetuousness that Bryant displayed during his younger days, his greatest successes have always come out of structure and discipline—like the famed system of basketball preached by his former coach, Phil Jackson.

Despite his Zen trappings, Jackson’s core basketball philosophies are traditional. As a player for the New York Knicks, he learned about motivation from his coach, Red Holzman. And when Jackson joined the Chicago Bulls as a coach, he embraced the triangle system that had been pioneered by Sam Barry at USC and was later refined by Tex Winter, who played for Barry during the 1940s.

Winter passed his knowledge on to Jackson, and the two won a whole lot of rings together.

Years later, these circular patterns continue, with Scott returning to an organization where he won three championships as a player. Is it simply coincidence that he now compares the offense he’ll be using to the one that added five more banners to the Staples Center rafters under Jackson?

Perhaps coincidences and ironies are beside the point. Scott is bringing a traditionalist approach back to Lakers basketball, and after a season with the most losses in the team’s franchise history, it’s time to refocus on the basics.

This doesn’t mean the game won’t still be fun. Nick “Swaggy P” Young will continue to celebrate after baskets made and Bryant—despite being older and perhaps slower—will still put on signature displays of basketball brilliance. Jeremy Lin will attempt to create some new history, three years after his apex with the Knicks, and rookie Julius Randle will bull his way to the basket and score his first points in the NBA.

And if Scott has his way, the points scored will come after stops made rather than the notion of simply trying to sink more shots than the other guys.

That said, fun has its place on the court and after wins. But there also has to be accountability. As Scott said during his press conference, “When you lose games, you shouldn’t be sitting in the locker room having a good time. It should hurt.”

There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s going to restore traditional principles and bring back Laker pride.

And his name is Byron Scott.

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Hawks’ Scott earns new deal with scoring surge (Yahoo Sports)

The Atlanta Hawks have re-signed Mike Scott, who improved his 3-point shot in his second season and almost doubled his scoring average. Scott, a second-round pick from Virginia in 2012, averaged 9.6 points last season, up from 4.6 as a rookie. Scott made 62 of 200 3-point attempts last season after missing his only 3 as a rookie.

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Lakers News: Byron Scott Is Smart to Make Julius Randle’s Development a Priority

On a team that is not expected to be very good, the Los Angeles Lakers must focus on developing for the future. Fortunately, new head coach Byron Scott seems to understand where the priorities are.

In an interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, the coach had a lot of good things to say about first-round pick Julius Randle:

I see a young man that’s raw, but he has great feet and great quickness for his size, and he’s strong as a bull. You can tell that he wants to get better. Next week we’ll have a better idea, because he’ll be in better shape and be able to work even harder. But I love those attributes, being strong, big and quick for his size. That’s a very good combination to have.

This is not the first time Scott had good things to say about the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 draft, who he considered a steal:

He also compared him to Zach Randolph during an interview on The Dan Patrick Show:

However, the most important part of his talk with Trudell came when discussing playing time for the rookie, saying, ”Julius will get plenty of chances to play a lot of minutes. We know he’s a rookie and needs to develop, and a lot of that will come in training camp and in practice. I think he’ll do just that.” 

The problem many players have in their first season is simply getting onto the court. Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Bennett, came under a lot of scrutiny for his poor numbers, but a lot of that was due to only getting 12.8 minutes per game. With his numbers per 36 minutes, Bennett averaged a respectable 11.8 points and 8.4 rebounds.

Still, young prospects need playing time in order to improve. You can only learn so much in practice, but learning through mistakes can help you speed up your development. Not every rookie has that luxury, especially those on teams looking to contend for titles.

This is what makes Randle’s situation such an encouraging one. While everyone wants to be on a winning team, a squad that finished 27-55 and lost Pau Gasol is likely headed toward another losing season. Even with Carlos Boozer and a healthy Kobe Bryant, this could be a long year in Los Angeles.

Shane Young of Hoops Habit thinks Randle will get extra minutes despite a number of other players capable of playing the position:

Even if he struggles, just getting him on the floor will give him a chance to improve. This is more important for the Lakers’ success in the future than winning a few more games in 2014-15.

On the plus side, Randle appears ready to be productive right away. Will Brinson of CBS Sports agreed with Scott’s assertion that the Lakers got a steal with their draft pick:

The forward showed off his ability in summer league after dominating college basketball as a freshman for Kentucky. He has loads of natural skill and the strength to be a force in the low post. Veterans like Bryant and Boozer will also help him get to where he needs to be.

Scott needs to do whatever it takes to help Randle reach his potential as a perennial All-Star. This should be one of the top priorities of the season, even if it comes at the expense of winning games. The fact the coach is willing to work with the young player and get him on the floor is a great sign for the future.

 

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5 LA Lakers Players Who Will Thrive Under Byron Scott

There are a couple of players who should thrive under new Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott.

More specifically, guards will enjoy their time under the tutelage of Scott. In his previous stops, he’s put the ball in the hands of his backcourt players and gotten them to perform quite well.

Many will quickly point out that he was lucky to coach Stephon Marbury, Jason Kidd, Baron Davis, Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving, and there’s certainly some truth to that.

However, he’s also managed to get the best out of castoffs like Dan Dickau, Kerry Kittles, Ramon Sessions, Desmond Mason and Speedy Claxton to name a few.

Scott-led teams have always favored the transition game and relied on the decision making of its backcourt players. It’s probably safe to say Scott won’t waver from his core principles and will run the offense through his guards. Let’s take a look at the specific Lakers that should enjoy good seasons under Scott.

Begin Slideshow

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Byron Scott gives initial thoughts on Lakers roster via Twitter

Newly hired Lakers Coach Byron Scott took over the team’s Twitter feed Friday, giving his thoughts on the team’s prospects this season.

His top priority, Scott wrote, is “to get our team to play defense on a consistent basis every single night.”

That’s a welcome thought. given the Lakers gave up 109.2 points per game last season.

How does he intend to make that happen?

“Accountability is obviously the first step. Desire & dedication are the next steps,” Scott wrote.

The Lakers announced Scott’s hiring on July 28. As a player, Scott contributed to three NBA titles during the Showtime era.

In his final season in the league as a player, 1996-97, Scott was a teammate of Kobe Bryant.

“He was the most mature 18-year-old I had ever come across. He kind of kept to himself,” Scott wrote of Bryant.

Scott has an idea how he wants to deploy Bryant along with point guards Jeremy Lin and Steve Nash.
lRelated Byron Scott sees tough road ahe…

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