Los Angeles Lakers fans can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief as the franchise’s front office filled their head coaching vacancy with three-time showtime champion Byron Scott. The question now beckoning Lakerland conversation is “Can Scott bring the winning culture back to Los Angeles?” The 16-time world championship franchise has prided itself in always being in contention for another chance to hang a banner in Staples Center, and so lands the pressure on Byron Scott, who has signed a four-year deal for $17 million. It is up to Scott and his make-shift Laker team to restore that pride that has driven the Laker front office to 16 championships, making the franchise arguable the most known worldwide.
Scott immediately brings a much needed familiar face that has been lacking for Lakers fans since Phil Jackson retired from the purple and gold. With Magic Johnson not being apart of the Lakers ownership, the passing of Jerry Buss, and Jerry “The Logo” West taking his talents to Golden State, Lakers fans found themselves lacking an identity. With Scott as the Lakers’ new head coach, Lakers fans know they have a guy whose heart and identity rest with the team. Byron’s coaching is also arguably exactly what the Lakers need: a strong defensive mindset coach who likes to see the ball ran through the point guard with a strong focus on pick and roll offensive sets; much like what NBA fans saw when he coached Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets.
Lakers fans want to know what else can Byron Scott do to bring the winning culture back to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the answer may lie in his relationship with Kobe Bryant. Kobe played under Byron as a rookie, and it has been reported by both parties that they had developed a strong relationship. Scott was quoted telling teammates that Kobe was going to be the best player in the NBA after watching one of his 4 am workouts. It is important that the Laker’s superstar has a strong personal and trustworthy relationship with the Laker’s head coach, otherwise, Scott could possibly sit on the wrong side of the fence for Lakers fan support.
It has been reported that Scott has been preaching to his new Lakers team that they better be ready to play defense. This is a great sign for Lakers fans who had to sit through tumultuous offense that made it nearly impossible for big men and other players to get back on defense. Last year, the Lakers were in the bottom three teams in all defensive categories, which will not put the Lakers in contention for another championship. With Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis and Robert Sacre, it is hard to decipher if the Lakers are going to have a real defensive presence. Regardless, basketball is a team sport and team defense will dramatically help the Lakers’ chances.
Los Angeles Lakers fans want to know: Can Byron Scott bring the winning culture back to the franchise, and help Bryant and his comrades raise another banner in Staples before his career ends? In a competitive West, the road for Scott and the Lakers seems difficult to say the least, but the Lakers have a chip on their shoulder, and with some new talent that arguably were all overlooked by other teams, they will have enough drive to play hard for their fans.
Commentary by Zane Foley