Scott’s reported return to L.A. brings sketchy defensive history

VIDEO: Lakers reportedly get Scott as coach

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Only 86 days after Mike D’Antoni resigned as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, the team has a replacement. As reported by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers have reached a deal with Byron Scott, who won three championships with them as a player.

As a coach, Scott has been to The Finals twice. But in 11 full seasons with the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers, he’s had a winning record only four times. And his years in Cleveland gave him a distinction that no coach would want to have.

The Cavs ranked in the bottom five in defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) in each of Scott’s three seasons. That’s not just bad. It’s unprecedented.

Before Scott, the last coach to lead his team to the bottom five in defensive efficiency in three straight seasons was Mike Dunleavy, who did it with Milwaukee from 1993-94 to 1995-96, a streak that started when the league had only 27 teams. So Scott is the only coach to do it in a 30-team league.

Note: Before Scott’s Cavs, the last team to rank in the bottom five at least three straight seasons was the Warriors, who did it four seasons in a row, from 2008-09 to 2011-12. But three difference coaches — Don Nelson, Keith Smart and Mark Jackson — were responsible for that run.

You could look at those Cleveland rosters (2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13) and note their youth and lack of talent. Indeed, Scott didn’t have much to work with. But bottom five for three straight years speaks for itself. Scott had a No. 1 defense in New Jersey and top 10 defenses twice with the Hornets, but he wasn’t able to coach the young Cavs up. Under Mike Brown last season, Cleveland jumped from 27th to 17th in defensive efficiency.

The Lakers went in the opposite direction, dropping from 19th to 28th in D’Antoni’s only full season in L.A. With no real center and guys like Nick Young and Jodie Meeks playing big chunks of minutes on the perimeter, that’s what you’re going to get.

But the personnel won’t be any better this season. They’ve added noted defensive liabilities Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer to their rotation along with rookie Julius Randle and 36-year-old Kobe Bryant, who is coming off of two leg injuries and who played some pretty terrible weak-side defense the last time he was healthy.

Bad defensive personnel and a coach with a bad defensive history. For the second straight season, opposing offenses are going to love facing the Lakers.


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  2. Laker lover says:

    Byron Scott will be fire in 2 years. I don’t know what the Laker doing???it so sad to be Lakers fans right now. Let go Clipper!!!!

  3. Kenny Johnson says:

    Lets see here, Scott doesnt know anything about defense hmm! He only improved 2 out of 3 of the last 3 teams he coached. Sounds pretty good to me. Including the #1 defense one of those years. The other team was a top 10 defense. The only team he did nothing with was a young! And poor talented! Team that had just lost Lebron, who they expected to do everything.

  4. Kenny Johnson says:

    I love these bias writers. Mentioning anything negative to support his opion. No, I dont think Lakers will have top 10 defense, but they will improve. He did not mention Ed Davis one of the top defenders they picked up or Julius Randle never taught defense in college. Also xavier Henry good defender with some promise from the rookie Clarkson.

  5. Rohan says:

    A good coach can make any team play good defense. So it all comes down to Scott’s system and philosophy. Everybody on this team has chip on their shoulder and have a point to prove to the league. So Scott c’mon make this team play good defense. If lakers can manage to stay around 0.500 come all star break, kupchak can try to pull off a trade to bring a good role player mid season to help us in playoffs. It all starts at the defensive end. A good defense and ball movement basketball should be Scott’s top priority in training camp. Hope the locker room comes together and play as one to prove everyone wrong. Lets do this to shut all the haters, to forget all the failures, for Lakers Glory! Go Lakers!

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  7. FrankL2010 says:

    As a Lakers fan, I believed in what the FO did… those haters who can not even mention their team, I just really don’t know if you can manage even a small basketball team, or even just a group of individuals, or do some pick and roll. Just enjoy the game guys and congratulate whoever would win. BTW, this writer needs some workshop.

  8. abdul weedar says:

    obvious discrimination toward jeremy lin and i’m not sure about the reason, i hope it’s not something about skin color ? maybe it’s because of that ?

  9. Listen at all the Kobe haters and nays-ayers… who are your teams ?? say that ! NO! u too coward because U don’t know anything about Ballin’ and Trading & Managing a team/Operations

    • Thompson says:

      I’m a Spurs fan. Have been since 5 years before Duncan came.

      They know how to ball, trade, and manage a team/operations, wouldn’t you say? Kobe and Lakers have had nice runs over that period too, but they’ve been trying to win on names lately, not on good solid coaching. Let’s see if Scott can turn that around.

  10. Commonsense says:

    I know that being a writer you want to publish something that will spur comments. But, I believe that any team that has Kobe Bryant on the team, healthy or injured, will be a much better team than with out him. Take for example when he was challenged to make the 8th payoff spot two seasons ago, at the age of 34 no less. And they did just that. If he had not injured himself before the playoffs, I bet the team would have challenged the 1st seeded Thunder that year. Whether they would have won that series is another matter, but they certainly would have gave them the run for their money. So, anytime the lakers, with Kobe in the lineup, will certainly be a better playing team given his commitment and experience. And having that experience will also make connections with his teammates, who can feed off the hunger that most certainly overflows from Kobe. Both Offensively and Defensively!!

    • ... says:

      Lakers were actually the 7th seed and faced the spurs. Also, Kobe was 33 at the time. But I agree, this article was very biased against the Lakers, although its kinda true.

  11. JoshKing says:

    Move dont matter much. Lakers franchise is set back 4-5 years. Once Kobe (aka the MJ imitator) is off the books…then maybe they can go after Durant or some other better player.

    • Thompson says:

      More teams need to concentrate on coaching, systems, teamwork, and spirit. Coach should be able to shout at and bench the team’ stop superstar if necessary without any hint of backlash or whining from the player.

      Keep it in the family… like Pop and Spurs. Emulate that and maybe we’ll see better results.

  12. SJJ says:

    Man, you gotta stop misleading the public, bro.
    Before start calling Lin a “defensive liability” please get your facts straight:

    – advanced stats (e.g. DefRtg, Defensive PPP, Opponent FG%) all show Lin being on par or better than the “All NBA 2nd team” Beverley
    – Lin put in 100% effort on defense all times, if you actually watched the games you would not consider him a “liability”
    – He was even covering wide open opponents when his teammates fail to guard their own man
    Example 1:
    Example 2

    – for defensive highlight watch here:

    • Hey man Thanks!! some of these Cats don’t know anything about pro Basketball, just parrotting what they hear after 3 hours of happy hour at local sports bars.. Hell, most of the so call fans are not real fans but want to appear cool so the quote crazy numbers that make no sense.

  13. OldManLakerFan says:

    The Byron Scott story is one for the ages. A local, grew up in Inglewood “sneaking into the Forum to see a Laker game”. Went on to play on the championship Showtime era Lakers. Now to return home to coach his beloved team.
    C’mon! Winning a championship as coach of the Lakers would be the true fairy tale ending to his impressive career.
    As a Laker for Life fan, I look forward to watching the games and watching the team go through it’s growing pains.

    Kobe aka mamba, his health and the strategy he uses this season will play a major role in how quickly the team can gel. Team ball, confidence, playing with integrity and leaving it out there on the court every night. Those are the ingredients of what could be a Great season or one to forget. We have the talent, we have the history and I’ll say it, we have the fans to make for a fun year.

    Should be good. Stay Tuned….

    2 Words no matter what transpires over the 2014-2015 season….

    Go Lakers!!!

  14. Lance says:


  15. Dax says:

    Lakers are moving backwards. Until some humility enters the family business and they admit Jeanie has the longer basketball head it will be a disaster. Jim does a great Donald Sterling imitation.

  16. harrythehawk says:

    Coach Scott? Not promising. Fakers? Well, I’m going to give them some credit. Their starting line-up may now finally have some competition… Over teams like Utah, Orlando, New Orleans, Boston, Detroit and possibly Philadelphia. Lol

  17. reynaldo says:

    gave them enough time and they will be fine

  18. Ro says:

    Can this coach make the team play good defense? Biggest concern!

  19. M1978 says:

    The Lakers would need a cheaper Kobe Bryant to rebuild effectively. But Kobe won’t exit his contract so they’ll have another bad year. If everything goes well, they’ll make it to the 7th or 8th playoff spot in the west. In any other case they’ll be 9th or 10th at best.
    Now they lack some defensive power and a good center. This is a scorer team with no real defence. But this strategy can succeed in the west, it’s only a failure in the playoffs.
    Kobe should do this season and then leave the Lakers to win a last title in his carreer.

  20. Crutch City says:

    Can someone please post statistics that point directly to Jeremy Lin being a defensive liability? Seriously, I am very curious where these allegations come from. I have watched every game of the Rockets for the past 2 years, and the only REAL defensive liability is James Haren. In fact, in Game 6 of the West Conference Playoffs, Jeremy Lin held Damian Lillard to 0 points in the 4th quarter. The only points Lillard scored was the buzzer beater 3 pt, when Lin WAS NOT on the floor. If anything, Lin is at least an average defender.

  21. KK says:

    I hope the Lakers can take Houston’s spot in the playoffs next year. It would be great for Kobe and Lin to get back at Dwight and Morey for screwing them over.

    But in all fairness, defense can be a real problem for the Lakers. I can easily see scoring from their starters, Lin/Nash 15, Kobe 20, Young/Henry 15, Boozer 15, Hill 10. That’s 75 points, but can their shallow bench put up 25 more and their defense keep opponents under 100? Those are two big questions that are real iffy right now.

  22. Lakersfan says:

    I’m not sure how they would consider Lin as a defensive liability? I mean, look at the work he did on Lillard during the playoffs.

  23. nbafan says:

    I don’t think Jeremy Lin is a defensive liability compared to even some of the “superstars” like his ex teammate Harden. A little too biased there IMO! I think if the coach trusts Lin, the Lakers or the NBA could be much more entertaining next year. He single handedly brought excitement to basketball during his NY days in the span of weeks. That was incredible.

    • boots says:

      i agree. He’s not a great defensive player, but he’s not a liability either, I’d put him around slightly above average. Harden is a defensive liability and always was

  24. Milen says:

    Lottery, here we come again… after two or three more trips, they may be able to finally land a game-changer… until then, I will just have to take the pain and suffering and watch a Bulls’ game anytime I want to just take a break…. smh…

  25. A.J. says:

    Actually, Martin, it’s totally fair to judge him by his time in Cleveland. This is a guy that got blown out by 58 points at home in the first-round of the playoffs. Kinda tells me that nobody in New Orleans wanted to play for him, don’t ya think? After he’s fired early the next season, Cleveland plucks him out of the stinkpile. Almost the entire James supporting cast was still there. Scott led them to a 10-game losing streak, then they won a game, then they lost the next 26. That’s 1-36 if you’re keeping score at home. Check the box score of the first game of the 26-game losing streak. The top six players in minutes in the rotation? The same guys that played with James. It’s not like Scott was coaching fresh D-League call-ups, albeit the atrocious Daniel Gibson should have never been allowed to touch a ball in the NBA, an absolute garbage player, but that inept dolt Danny Ferry loved handing out five-year multimillion dollar contracts to basketball stiffs like they were pieces of candy. But I digress.

    His third and final pathetic season, Scott couldn’t even get a relatively healthy Cleveland team into the playoffs IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE. That fact alone should be reason enough to never let that guy be a head coach in the NBA ever again. For three full seasons, he had no offensive system, no defensive system, just his golfing system. He stunk in New Orleans, he stunk in Cleveland. That guy couldn’t motivate a dog to lift his leg at a fire hydrant. He has no business being a head coach in the NBA, but the Lakers are such a mess since the senior Buss died, that nobody wants to work over there. They’re hiring a guy when it’s clear they don’t want to hire him. But they have no viable alternative. It’s absolutely pathetic.

  26. Erwin says:

    They might be better off with Kobe as a player-manager. Just like in soccer. Saves them the salary. The Lakers are in an unprecedented downward spiral. Also, shouldn’t Kobe say goodbye to his salary in order for the Lakers to get better players?

  27. os says:

    its all good lakers had same type of rebuilding after the showtime lakers but true lakers fan will always be true to the team

  28. Underdog says:

    They look jeremy Lin as a defensive liability? Well impact, james harden was more of a defensive liabilities…. the Htown crew did not utilize Lin.instead going to Patrick Beverly.. They have lack of trust. If Byron Scott can give more trust to Lin and Kobe will have a great day in LA. All LA need now is a solid center.
    Good Luck to coach Scott to make them functional.

  29. Hey says:

    Is there proof to support that Jeremy Lin is a “noted defensive liability”? He’s a good defender.

  30. Jackson Brown says:

    Great observation, That’s why I’m lobbying for the Lakers to sign Dwayne Cunningham to help at the small forward position. He plays hard nose defense and can hit the corner 3 with consistency. Shaggy P won’t be playing any defense. Dwayne had a good run in Memphis when they made their run to the western con finals. The lakers could use that kind of toughness to help Kobe out. He’s a sleeper and a bench difference maker still unsigned.

  31. Pablo says:

    lol kobe and kuchak will fire him ormake him”step down” too. Pointless story to follow, We all know whats gonna happen

  32. JPM says:

    Suggested edit:
    As a coach, Scott has been to The Finals twice. However in 11 full seasons with the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers, he’s had a winning record only four times. His years in Cleveland gave him a distinction that no coach would want to have.

    Correction of error:
    But three different coaches – …

  33. Doc Martin says:

    Not really fair to judge Byron Scott by his Cleveland years. Any coach would have been terrible on that team during those years

  34. Mike says:

    What an ignorant and uniformed writer! Who obviously is no psychic nor knows basketball . Basketball is about styles, systems and match ups. Lakers will easily make 6 or7 th seed,

    • reggohllabam'i llabehtemevig says:

      EASILY? I don’t think so! they are gonna have to dig down deep if they actually want ANY chance of a playoff spot next season, and I don’t see that happening. They are lottery bound again

  35. spguide says:

    That is almost a downgrade from Mike D’Antoni, that’s even more unprecedented !

  36. A.J. says:

    Set an outrageous NBA record by losing a first-round home playoff game by 58 points? Check.
    Set an outrageous NBA record by losing 26 consecutive games? Check.
    Likes to play golf rather than prepare for games? Check.
    Yes, let’s hire him!!!

    Good lord, the Lakers are desperate these days. Who’s anybody kidding, that’s why they put off hiring a head coach for so long, because they wanted to hire somebody, ANYBODY, other than Byron Scott. They were hoping ANYBODY became available other than that guy. But nobody ever did. Scott should be paying the Lakers for the right to be their head coach, not the other way around.

  37. TheKush says:

    wow! My guess is the Lakers are going after Love and Westbrook at the end of the 2015 season. If not they better prepare for a looooooooooooooooong rebuilding process!