Why Hasn’t Los Angeles Lakers Defense Improved Under Byron Scott?

The Los Angeles Lakers have become no stranger to finger-pointing.

And their uninspired defense remains public enemy No. 1.

Just eight games into a disheartening 1-7 start to the 2014-15 campaign, head coach Byron Scott's team is allowing opponents to make 49.8 percent of their field-goal attempts—a mark that ranks dead last league-wide. 

According to Hollinger Stats, the 114.4 points per 100 possessions Los Angeles gives up also rank 30th in the NBA.

After a 109-102 loss the the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, Scott opened up about his club's defensive woes—woes that were arguably inherited from the Mike D'Antoni regime and a notoriously porous resistance that allowed a 28th-best 107.9 points per 100 possessions a season ago.

"[The Pelicans] got pretty much anything they wanted in the paint with no resistance whatsoever," he told reporters after the game (via ESPN). "It was just terrible. That was probably the worst defense that we've played from the preseason all the way to this particular point."

For the record, Los Angeles has already given up at least 112 points during a stretch of four consecutive games this season. That streak included a 127-point eruption by the Golden State Warriors that speaks to the scale of this team's desperation.

"We're not even close to our expectations, or at least mine," Scott added. "Like I said, we've just got to keep working. I know our guys are thinking a lot. We've got to get out of that pattern. But the effort has to be there and we have to play with a little more grit. That's the bottom line."

Los Angeles allowed the Pelicans to score 60 points in the paint, paving the way for an efficient 54.9 percent success rate from the field. Whatever the culprit, this team isn't getting the job done despite an offseason spent emphasizing the need for progress on the defensive end.

Indeed, Scott was...

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