Lakers Coach Byron Scott Stresses Defense, Conditioning While Kobe Disses D’Antoni

The Los Angeles Lakers will have a long, hard road ahead of them if they hope to make the playoffs in the NBA’s incredibly stacked Western Conference, but it looks like new head coach Byron Scott has the right attitude. With training camp kicking off in Los Angeles, Scott has the Lakers working hard on conditioning and defense, and he will address the offense when they get the time.

The Lakers aren’t likely to be a high-powered offense when they take the court for the 2014-2015 season. That’s due to the fact that the most accomplished Lakers on the floor – Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash – are a combined 76 years old with about 40 years of pro basketball experience between them.

Those kinds of numbers would be great if we were talking about Laker coach Byron Scott’s coaching staff, but we’re talking about two of his star players. Recent reports say that both Nash and Kobe are back to full health, but it’s questionable whether the two NBA elder statesmen will be enough to make a difference in a Western Conference that only seems to get tougher each year.

Looking at the rest of the Lakers’ roster, “cautious optimism” would even seem to be a bit of a stretch. Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer have had flashes of brilliance in their careers, but neither has turned heads as of late. Lakers assistant Jim Eyen, though, is taking a glass-half-full approach.

“[The Lakers’ roster is] versatile,” Eyen recently told Lakers reporter Mike Trudell. “I look at it as tremendously experienced in some positions, very young in others… You can play big at times, you can play small, you can play fast, you can play deliberate.”

The key to much of this will be in the Lakers coaching. Early reports out of the Lakers’ training camp have head coach Byron Scott focusing not on flashy offense, but on running, conditioning and defense.

A defense-first mindset has worked for previous squads with old centerpieces, but it remains to be seen if it can work for the Lakers. Still, Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant is reportedly satisfied as he and Scott are apparently of one mind with regard to their outlook on winning.

“It’s a philosophical thing,” Bryant said recently, according to ESPN‘s Arash Markazi. “He agrees with me and it’s the Lakers organization we’re here for one reason only and that’s to hang championship banners. Not division banners or conference banners or anything else. We don’t do that. We focus on winning championships and that’s very important for our young guys to understand.”

Bryant’s praise of Scott also came at the expense of former Laker coach Mike D’Antoni, who Bryant said, “Didn’t have the same philosophy on winning,” according to ESPN‘s Ramona Shelburne.

“For me, it’s winning and no in between… it’s championship or a waste of time.”

[Lead image via Bleacher Report and Paper Mag.]

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