It may have been months in the making but the Lakers officially introduced Byron Scott as its new head coach at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo on Tuesday.
“The one thing I will say is that this has been a dream of mine for so long,” said Scott, who enjoyed 11 seasons with the purple and gold. “It’s a dream come true to be here sitting and talking to you guys today and be introduced as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.”
Since Mike D’Antoni’s resignation in April, the discussion as to who would be the next coach always circled back to Scott, who served as an analyst on Time Warner Cable SportsNet this past year.
After uncertainty the past three years with D’Antoni and Mike Brown, the hiring of Scott looks to bring stability to a franchise that desperately needs it. While stability is needed, the expectations remain the same, something that Scott made sure to acknowledge in his opening statements.
“This organization is all about championships. Period. We don’t look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships,” said Scott. “We look at championships.”
The press conference got off to a memorable start as Scott’s former teammates, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jamaal Wilkes came to support their friend.
“This is a great day for all former Lakers as well as Laker fans all over the world,” said Magic. “We’re just excited for what Byron will bring to the table and get back to playing Laker basketball… Again, congratulations to the Laker organization. You chose the right guy.”
One of the other selling points other than Scott’s history with the franchise is that of his relationship with Kobe Bryant, who had issues with his two previous head coaches.
“Great relationship. I mean we get a long extremely well. We talk a lot. We text each other a lot during the season and obviously during the off-season,” said Scott, who was Kobe’s mentor during his rookie season in 1996. “I’m looking forward to coaching Kobe. I know his drive, and I know his will and determination. I think we’re on the same page as far as how we think about this game and how it should be played.”
While this is Scott’s ‘dream job’, many do not consider the roster as currently constructed a playoff team, but the new head coach is happy with his upcoming collection of players.
“I just was looking at all the moves that Jim [Buss] and Mitch [Kupchak] were making. When we talked, they would ask me my opinion, and I would give it to them. And like I said, I think they did a great job of putting this roster together,” said Scott.
“I’m excited to work with these guys on the floor too, and I think you’re going to have a few of these guys on this roster that have a chip on their shoulder, which to me is a very good thing, and you have a lot of people real down on us right now, and I think that’s something that can drive us going through the season.”
As the Lakers now move forward, trying to establish an identity for the years to come, it will be a challenge for Scott but for someone that understands expectations of the franchise and its fans; he is definitely the right choice at the moment for this team. But what can the fans expect out the Lakers led by Scott?
“Play hard every single night, and we’ll come ready to defend.”
And after last season’s 27-55 performance, even that small promise from Scott is the step in the right direction.