After finishing up filling out the roster, the Lakers decided to announce the hiring of former player, Byron Scott, as the team’s next Head Coach. Scott’s resume includes previous experience as a Head Coach in New Jersey, New Orleans, and Cleveland. He’s had varying levels of success; a rough first year in New Jersey, followed by trips to the NBA Finals, solid success in New Orleans and the development of Chris Paul, and only disappointment in Cleveland. So what should we expect from Byron Scott on the Lakers?
In New Jersey, Scott got to hone his craft. His first season with the Nets didn’t go well, with the team finishing a putrid 26-56. The next season the Nets traded for Jason Kidd, and Scott coached the team to two consecutive NBA Finals appearances, only to be foiled by the Lakers he now coaches. During the 2003-04 season, with the Nets struggling and Kidd unhappy, Scott was fired with a 22-20 record on the year. The Nets finished 47-35 with Laurence Frank as the new coach, slightly improving over Scott’s pace.
Scott finished out the rest of the season from his home, but was hired by the New Orleans Hornets, a rebuilding team. His first season, Scott only coached 18 games with star player Baron Davis in the lineup, and the team finished 18-64. Luckily the poor record allowed for the team to select Chris Paul in the following NBA Draft. During the 2005-06 season, which saw the Hornets displaced to Oklahoma City, the Hornets took strides, but most important the development of David West and Chris Paul was progressing nicely.
From 2007-09, Scott helped lead the Hornets to a total record of 105-59. During the 2009-10 season, Scott found himself in a familiar place – being fired. This time the relationship with his point guard wasn’t the issue. The team began the season 3-6, and that was enough for ownership to pull the plug. Chris Paul expressed his displeasure with the move, and the team finished the year 37-45.
Yet again Scott found himself being sought after – this time by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were hoping the hiring of Scott might compel LeBron James to stay. The rest is history, James took off for South Beach and the Cavaliers were devoid of any type of talent. Think of this: In Scott’s first season with the Cavs, a 34 year old Antawn Jamison was his best player. The next season Kyrie Irving displaced Antawn as the team’s best player, but Jamison still was 2nd on the team in scoring.
After his 3rd year, after not much progress, the Cavaliers cut ties with Scott and replaced him with Mike Brown. That hiring didn’t work out and the Cavs now have another new Head Coach in David Blatt.
Now Scott will take charge of the team he once played for. The roster isn’t as barren as in his first season’s in his previous stops. The likes of Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Steve Nash, and rookie Julius Randle should give Scott some real talent to work with. The only teams coached by Scott that truly struggled were ones lacking and semblance of talent. Given his track record, expect Scott to have this team competitive and expect the young talent to develop the way they need to.