Byron Scott says he always wanted to be the head coach of the team he grew up idolizing and where he won 3 world championships as a player, but he wasn’t sure if that was in the cards for him. However, after agreeing on a multi-year contract with the team on July 28th, that head coaching dream became a reality.
“This is the one place that I really wanted to coach,” Scott told The Jim Rome Show. “Now that it has happened, it is a very surreal feeling. Just happy to be here, just blessed and also really excited about the opportunity and the challenge we have ahead.”
Working as a Lakers TV analyst last season, Scott wasn’t happy with the effort the team showed on one end of the floor.
“It was just a team that didn’t play defense on a night to night basis,” said Scott. “I thought that’s the thing that should have been emphasized the most because that’s what wins championships. In every major sport, you have to have a very good solid defensive foundation and that’s the one thing I thought was missing.”
Although Kobe Bryant turning 36 years old at the end of the month and coming off an injury-filled season, Scott believes the 5-time champion has a lot left in the tank.
“I watched him workout here at the facility and he looks really good. He’s in great shape right now,” said Scott. “He has two years left on his contract, he’s the one guy, that I think with all the injuries that he’s had over the last year or so, that can play three more years if he wants to and at a very high level. Kobe’s the type of guy that’s still going to average 20some points a game, he’s just that good. I think he still has a lot left in the tank. I still think that desire and motivation to win another championship is the thing that drives him.”
Contrary to what most people believe, the 2008 NBA Coach of the Year thinks the Lakers can compete for another title by the time Bryant’s contract expires in the summer of 2016.
“It’s a lot of work obviously and we’re going to have to have a lot of things fall right for us this year and next year, but that’s what I’m here for,” said Scott. “Mitch and Jim feel we have a chance to get back there as well. We’re all on the same page as far winning another championship here and I don’t think it’s going to be five, six years down the line like a lot of people might be thinking here in LA or around the country. We feel like we can do it in a lot shorter period of time.”