By Anthony F. Irwin @AnthonyIrwinNBA on July 31, 2014
Byron Scott was introduced Wednesday afternoon as the 25th head coach in Los Angeles Lakers history. Scott takes over a roster featuring players starting their careers, fighting to stay in the league and stretching out the twilight of their careers. He’ll have to manage some players’ minutes and ensure others get as many as possible. The next five priorities will help determine the level of success Scott and, by extension, the Lakers will enjoy.
Defensively, the Lakers were at or near the bottom of every statistical category. In order to develop any type of sustainable consistency, Scott will have to prioritize defense with a roster not exactly filled with elite defenders. Fortunately, his teams have consistently performed at least fairly well throughout his coaching career.
Last year, one of the knocks on Mike D’Antoni was that players rarely could anticipate regular minutes. In his defense, few on last year’s roster were talented enough to warrant regular minutes for any team; nonetheless, it’s understandable that frustration would grow with such ambiguous roles.
Scott will have to solve a similar issue with a nearly identical roster.
The most glaring shortcoming of D’Antoni’s time in Los Angeles was his unwillingness to waiver from his up-and-down brand of basketball. As so many players will have to play multiple positions, the Lakers can go with quicker, more explosive lineups or with larger, defensive-minded groups. From that standpoint, it will be interesting to see who he’ll hire to assist with the offensive coaching responsibilities.
Phil Jackson said famously that the hardest players to coach are superstars at the end of their careers. Kobe’s stubborn competitive nature is both his most admirable and frustrating trait.
This is actually one of the differentiating factors Scott had over other candidates for the job. Scott’s last year playing with the Lakers was also Kobe’s first, and Scott has served as a mentor ever since. In this respect, Scott seems up for the task.
Julius Randle’s growth is far and away the most important aspect of the upcoming season. Randle showed promise during the Summer League in Las Vegas and could conceivably wind up in contention for Rookie of the Year. Scott will have to make finding minutes and touches for Randle his top priority to enable that type of season. Scott will have to manage a crowded frontcourt to do so, with five players all vying for minutes at Randle's position.
July 31, 2015 by Dave Daniels
The Washington Wizards still have a lot of questions to address before the 2015-16 season begins, but none are more pressing than these. Read More
July 31, 2015 by Derek McVay
Despite bringing back Brook Lopez, the Brooklyn Nets are still facing numerous issues as next season approaches. Read More
July 31, 2015 by Evan Massey
The Indiana Pacers signed Glenn Robinson III to a three-year contract, and he brings plenty of upside potential to the table for the team. Read More
July 31, 2015 by Chipper Murphy
For a variety of reasons, these 15 players will be on the move during the 2015-16 NBA season. Read More
July 31, 2015 by Jared Doyle
NBA pundits and experts agree, the Miami Heat are poised to make the biggest leap in the Eastern Conference next season, and here is why. Read More
July 31, 2015 by Drew James
The meat of the NBA free agency period is over, but there's still some talents out there that's yet to be signed. The Spurs still have room to improve if they're willing to be aggressive. Read More
July 31, 2015 by Nick Sciria
Mike Scott's recent arrest is another example of why Mike Budenholzer needs to change the culture with his Atlanta Hawks. Read More
July 31, 2015 by Trevor Lowry
A time machine would come in handy right about now for these NBA franchises. Read More