Byron Scott Says Los Angeles Lakers ‘Better Be Ready to Play Some Defense’

Byron Scott is wasting little time in reminding the Los Angeles Lakers there are two sides to every basketball court.

The franchise officially hired the former Laker and 2007-08 Coach of the Year Saturday to replace Mike D'Antoni, per ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne. Shortly after news of Scott's arrival broke, Kobe Bryant reached out to his new partner in crime and received the head coach treatment right away: "He [Bryant] told me he was working out with Wesley [Johnson] and Nick [Young]," Scott said, via Shelburne. "I told them that sounded great, but 'they better be ready to play some defense.'"

"What is this 'defense' thing that you speak of?" Bryant asked promptly.

OK, fine. That didn't happen. But it might as well have.

Defense hasn't been in the Lakers' vocabulary over the last two seasons. They failed to finish better than 20th in defensive efficiency during the D'Antoni era, and they hit new lows last year as a bottom-three defensive outfit. If they're to have a hope of contending for more than another lottery finish, they'll need to improve.

And Scott has his work cut out for him there. The Lakers haven't done much, if anything, to improve their defensive standing this summer.

Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin, two of the Lakers' most prominent offseason additions, aren't known for their defense. They're actually recognized for not playing defense.

Julius Randle is a rookie who won't grasp NBA defensive concepts right away. Steve Nash—assuming he's even healthy—has long been considered a defensive liability. Bryant himself is pushing 36, and while he's played elite defense is the past, Grantland's Zach Lowe argued he began taking more and more plays off before rupturing his Achilles in 2013:

Again, he's a good defender when he wants to be, and he can still be a huge pain in the ass on the ball against top scorers. But playing top-notch on...

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