Los Angeles Lakers: Assistant Coach Gary Payton?

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The Los Angeles Lakers have finally signed head coach Byron Scott to lead them into the future. His pedigree as one of the Showtime Lakers provides them an individual with familiarity with the success and expectation of being competitive in the NBA.

Scott is looking to help Los Angeles bounce back from their 27-55 season last year, a franchise worst. The next step for Scott is to round out a new staff that will aid him during his tenure. Some of the names include Robert Horry and Gary Payton.

Payton’s resume includes an NBA title with the Miami Heat, two Olympic gold medals and he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Payton even had a short stay with the Lakers during the 2003-04 season.

The year ended in unexpected fashion as the Lakers fell to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals. Expectations were high, as the Lakers starting lineup included Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, and Payton.

In a career that featured 15 playoff experiences in 18 seasons, Payton is an ideal candidate for a Laker team in looking to get back into the postseason. The franchise thrives on winning and continuing one of the best brands in professional basketball.

During his 13 seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics , Payton was a part of building a competitive roster and faithful fanbase.

Adopting the personality of a player like Payton will help the Lakers find an identity. Payton has always been known as one of the league’s fiercest competitors.

His attitude and tenacity were always an essential piece to his teams. He is also one of the greats of the NBA that shares mutual respect with Kobe Bryant.

With Kobe leading the Lakers this season, Payton can serve as a mentor to younger players like Xavier Henry, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle.

“The Glove,” as Payton was affectionally coined, is known as one of the best defensive guards in NBA history.  The Lakers are far from becoming the group that will allow them to compete for an NBA title, but adding Payton is a start.

As a former Defensive Player of the Year, Payton could aid in various schemes to improve a defense that never ranked better than 20th in defensive efficiency in the last two years according to chatsports.com.  Scott has reiterated his urgency of the team to be ready to focus on the defensive end next year.

Payton would be a step in reinforcing this message.

As one of the best personalities of the NBA, Payton would compliment Scott as a buffer between throwback basketball and the speed of today’s game. Scott believes in the essentials of being dedicated to  accountability on both ends of the floor.

His era featured a more rugged style of play that started from the interior. Payton played in the 1990s and early 2000s during the emergence of perimeter players from Jason Kidd to Dwyane Wade.

Payton played with his back to the basket a lot during his career, but also mixed in getting out in transition and playing uptempo. The Lakers roster usually includes its share of veterans, but the team has the opportunity to allow younger players to play a similar style.

Gary Payton is also mulling a decision to join the Milwaukee Bucks, but the appeal of the Lakers may prove to be a great opportunity. The team is looking to add big names to their roster in 2015 and 2016, and Payton could help draw in the right prospect.

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Tags: Byron Scott Gary Payton Los Angeles Lakers

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