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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Byron Scott’s Top 5 Priorities With Los Angeles Lakers For Upcoming Season

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Byron Scott's Top 5 Priorities With the Lakers For Upcoming Season

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers-Byron Scott Press Conference
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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.

5. Establish a Defensive Identity

Robert Sacre, Jordan Hill
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

5. Establish a Defensive Identity

Robert Sacre, Jordan Hill
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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.

4. Find and Establish a Steady Rotation

Los Angeles Lakers Bench
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

4. Find and Establish a Steady Rotation

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Lakers
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

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.

3. Find an Identity That Fits the Roster

Jodie Meeks, Mike D'Antoni
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Find an Identity That Fits the Roster

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Lakers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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.

2. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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.

1. Manage and Maintain Julius Randle's Growth

Julius Randle, 2014 NBA Draft
Getty Images

1. Manage and Maintain Julius Randle's Growth

Julius Randle, 2014 NBA Draft
Getty Images

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.