Byron Scott Talks Improving the Lakers’ Defense & More with Carson Daly

Los Angeles may be the land of fame and excess, but Lakers coach Byron Scott is all business when it comes to turning things around for the struggling team.

The Lakers legend was tapped for the job only a couple of weeks ago and faces a pretty tough road ahead following last season’s losing record.

Nevertheless, it’s an exciting homecoming for both Scott and the team. The former NBA shooting guard won three championship titles during the Lakers Showtime era alongside greats like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, and A.C. Green.

Scott called into Mornings with Carson Daly earlier today to explain his vision for one of the most storied franchises in NBA history.

On why it took so long for the Lakers to confirm him as the new coach:

It really wasn’t frustrating for me. I know Mitch [Kupchak] and Jim [Buss] wanted to do their due diligence and find out exactly everything about me as much as they could, even though Mitch and I were teammates. I thought it was more they just really didn’t want to rush into anything. They just wanted to get the roster kind of set first, which is a little different, but I understand exactly where they’re coming from. So it wasn’t really frustrating for me. I’m a very patient person, so it didn’t bother me much.

On the mentality going into this season:

For me, it’s to win. That’s the bottom line. I don’t look at it as rebuilding. I know we have a 2-3 year plan that we want to try and implement, but from a coaching standpoint, you know, when we start training camp at the end of September, my thought is win and try to win as many games as possible, so I don’t necessarily look at it as a rebuilding year. I know it’s going to be a tough job this year, but I do also keep that mentality of trying to make sure everybody understands in that locker room that there’s not going to be any pity parties. You know, we’re trying to go out there and win every game that we can and be very competitive every single night.

On improving the Lakers’ defense:

This is something that definitely has to be preached from day one. We’ve been talking about it ever since I took over the job. It’s definite a point of emphasis, so the players that I’ve come in contact with, they understand exactly what I’m all about, what I’m going to be preaching on that end of the floor, and I think one of the most important things is that you have a nine-time defensive all-star basically in Kobe [Bryant], who will be preaching the same thing because he understands that that’s the thing that wins championships. So, we’ve got to get everybody on board and they have to understand that that’s the mentality that we have to have and they also have to understand that there’s consequences if you don’t play defense, which means you sit on the bench, so, it’s pretty simple.

On Julius Randle:

I still love Julius. I think he’s got, obviously as a rookie, he’s got a lot to learn, but definitely a world of talent. As long as he’ll come in and work his butt off and will take coaching, which I think he will…He’s the type of kid that I think will get better and better as the season goes along, so I’m excited that young fella because I think he’s got a bright future and I think this year he’s going to be a big contributor to some of the things we’re doing.

On Jeremy Lin:

[He was] a very good acquisition. I love the fact that Mitch and Jim were able to get Jeremy and Carlos Boozer…You know, Lin is a little bit, a lot younger really, but has some experience and so does Carlos, but I think both those guys have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder going into the season, so I’m looking forward to working with both of them, but Jeremy’s the kind of guy that can run the point and score, get the ball up and down the floor extremely quick. Very intelligent basketball player, but he’s very feisty and that’s the thing I like about him.

On Nick Young:

Obviously offensively Nick is one of those guys in this league that can get his own shot at almost any time, so you’ve got let him keep that in his game. I don’t want to take that away…And like you said, we all love his personality and the way he is on the basketball court, but you know, you also have to have some discipline on the offense end and you know, he’s the guy, like I said earlier, got a chance to talk to at the gym the other day and working his butt off with Kobe and with Wesley Johnson, so I’m excited to be working with Nick as well.

On what it feels like to be working at his dream job:

It is still a little surreal because a lot of guys dream about their dream job or guys dream about making it into the NBA and things like that and, you know, it’s something that’s come true for me and it’s just walking into the office when I got back from the Dominican Republic Tuesday night and walking in that Wednesday morning, I still was in awe and just going to work every day is a pleasure and a privilege. You know, one thing that I do when I go to work is that I go through the office and you see all these great pictures of our Laker moments and there’s a picture of Dr. Buss, so, that’s kind of my reminder that I’m going to do everything that I can to make the Buss family proud and bring this organization back to where it belongs, which is a championship-type basketball.

On the Cleveland Cavaliers & Chicago Bulls:

I still like Chicago, obviously, getting Pau [Gasol] helping them tremendously and if Derrick Rose is healthy. I mean, those two teams, I think, are the best two teams right now in the Eastern Conference.

-Sarah Carroll, 97.1 AMP Radio/Los Angeles


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