It took the Los Angeles Lakers a very long time to figure out who will be their next head coach, so after filling their roster with draft picks, trades and free agent signings, they ended up signing Byron Scott, a big part of the Showtime Lakers during the 1980’s, to try and steer the ship back in the right direction.
Scott spent 14 seasons in the NBA, 11 of them with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning three NBA titles. As a head coach, he has been in charge of the New Jersey Nets, who he helped reach the NBA finals twice in 2002 and 2003, the New Orleans Hornets during Chris Paul’s stay with the team and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the post LeBron era, fired in 2013 after missing the playoffs for three consecutive seasons.
Scott was the leading candidate to take the job once Mike D’Antoni resigned when the season ended. Scott spent last season working as a television analyst, and beat Kurt Rambis, George Karl, Alvin Gentry and Lionel Hollins for this specific job, although Hollins did get the head coach position in Brooklyn with the Nets after Jason Kidd, who played what perhaps was his best basketball under Scott, decided to leave them for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Scott has won 44.4% of his regular season games as a head coach, leading his teams to the playoffs four times in 11 seasons, getting fired twice during a season with both the Nets and the Hornets (now the Pelicans). He is known as a disciplinarian, as the Lakers have a mostly young team except for Steven Nash and Kobe Bryant. Maybe Scott was taken to keep them in line, while Bryant can focus on basketball instead of scolding young players who don’t do as he bids them.
Scott signed a four-year, $17 million deal, with the Lakers holding a team option on the fourth year of that contract. It’s interesting to see rookie head coaches like David Blatt, Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher getting a lot more money and years than Scott, but Scott wasn’t a hot name going into this free agency. No one remembers he coached in the NBA finals, and what’s mostly remembered is his deteriorated relationship with Chris Paul in New Orleans and his disappointing tenure in Cleveland.
The Lakers look like a slightly better team than they were last season, but they have made some slightly disputed choices like giving Jordan Hill a pretty big extension, along with Nick Young who makes sense a bit more. Scott had no part in this team’s building through this offseason, but from what we’ve seen in Los Angeles over the last two or three seasons, he’ll be the first to pay the price if things don’t go very well.