And, for as much as I continue to unfortunately see Scott as an ultimately short-term hire, he is absolutely right to set a defensive mentality from the start of his reign as head coach.Looking at this Los Angeles Lakers roster, they actually are not far away from being a fairly competitive team offensively. If Kobe Bryant returns to even part of his former offensive ways, this team will be pretty good in that department. Add in Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer to that starting five, and there is definitely some potential to put up points in a variety of ways.
The bench actually may be exciting offensively as well, if Steve Nash can stay healthy enough to contribute this year. A combination of Steve Nash and Julius Randle, with Nick Young in the mix, is something that could definitely get the job done on that end of the floor on most nights.
What this team doesn’t have though, is any feeling of hope on the defensive side of things.
Their presumed best player (Kobe, assuming fully healthy), while once an All-NBA level defender, has been slipping on that side for years. He’s not the guy you will expect to shut down the guy across from him anymore, and he might be one of this team’s better defenders.
At the point, there is little hope from optimism coming from Lin or Nash. To make matters worse, Ed Davis may just be the best rim protector on the roster; not words that give hope of a dominant defensive approach.
Individually, there’s not much to be excited about for this roster on the defensive side. But, as we’ve been shown in the past, team defense that focuses effort and intensity every night can make a massive difference.
Another source of aid could come from Scott’s offensive system; variations of the Princeton offense.
From his comments, it’s safe to say the team’s offensive approach will differ from last season’s fast-paced attack. Becoming a good offense in the half-court could do wonders by allowing the defense time to set up. That alone should increase the efficiency of that side of the ball, at least relative to last season’s nightmare.
Of course there are things that the Lakers’ roster is simply missing to be a defensive force in the NBA; an imposing rim protector, athleticism on the wing (3-and-D types), and overall team speed. These things would be essential to creating a dominant defense.
Fortunately, the Lakers don’t have to be dominant on defense in order to become competitive in that regard. They just need to provide enough resistance, and show enough effort on defense, in order for their offensive contributions to actually matter. With the way this team is built, a solid defense would go a long way in making sure there are a few more Ws in their favor this year.
Byron Scott knows this, and he obviously knows the shortcomings of his roster as well. That’s why he’s come out and preached defense from the beginning, even with a defensively deficient roster.