Byron Scott Seeks Return to Traditional Principles

After experiencing decreasing returns in recent years, the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be making a concerted effort to rebrand themselves. But not in some modernistic, forward-thinking way. Instead, it’s a return to bedrock principles.

Byron Scott, the team’s new head coach, is leading the charge, embracing traditional concepts like team responsibility. You’ll hear phrases like “it starts with defense” more than the small-ball manifestos that have become so commonplace in the new NBA.

The Lakers even positioned three of Scott’s former Showtime teammates behind him at his introductory press conference as a show of support. Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes offered words of welcome and encouragement. Johnson talked about the excitement of getting “back to playing Lakers basketball.”

It’s as if the organization is putting as much conscious distance as possible between its new retro mindset and the one espoused by Mike D’Antoni.

A coach so intrinsically linked with free-flowing, score-first basketball has been replaced by one whose mandate is to stop the ball.

During the presser, per, Scott responded to a question about enforcing defensive responsibility:

The only thing you can really control with players is their minutes. That gets their attention. So, if you’re not out there and playing defense the way I think you’re capable of playing or the way we should be playing defense, then I’m going to have to find other guys who will.

And what about the offensive end of the floor?

Scott is planning on using elements of a system that date back to the Princeton Tigers men’s basketball team of the 1930s. Interestingly, the Princeton offense was briefly introduced at the start of the Lakers’ 2012-13 season under coach Mike Brown.

Brown was fi...

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