Byron Scott on the State of the Lakers

Byron Scott spoke at length with TWC Sportsnet at Media Day, discussing everything from the young players, to Kobe Bryant, to the expectations for the team.

Scott first talked about the state of the Lakers’ roster, praising the mix of youth and experience. He also mentioned that he was excited about having a defensive presence in Roy Hibbert. Last season, the Lakers were among the worst teams in the league defensively, partially due to the lack of a rim protector. While Hibbert will not single-handedly turn them into a defensive juggernaut, his presence could lead to a pretty significant improvement on that end of the floor.

Scott also spoke shortly about Kobe Bryant’s limitations in the upcoming season. It seems clear that the two have discussed and planned on shortening the veteran’s workload, although no details have emerged as to what that plan holds:

Scott then took time to speak about some of the younger players on the roster, starting with Julius Randle. The head coach had high praise for last year’s first round pick, saying he has the ability to guard anyone. He did maintain, however, that Randle has to “show it on a nightly basis.” Randle’s defense has been considered by some to be his biggest pitfall so having that praise heaped on him is encouraging. Whether that actually translates to the basketball court remains to be seen.

Scott spoke shortly about D’Angelo Russell – namely his Summer League struggles. Scott chalked those struggles mostly on Russell trying to showcase his abilities too much, while also placing some blame on previously unknown injuries:

While Russell’s struggles were blown out of proportion at Summer League, it is interesting to learn that he was playing through some minor injuries, as well. Interestingly enough, Scott did not place any blame on the Princeton Offense that the pick and roll savant had to run.

Finally, Byron commented on Robert Upshaw. Upshaw, an undrafted free agent, is one of the more interesting guys at the Lakers’ training camp as his raw ability has turned some heads. For his part, Scott seems intrigued by the big man.

Upshaw has had plenty of questions on his work ethic and fitness. Therefore, hearing that sort of praise from Scott is very encouraging. If Upshaw has his head in the right place, he can certainly contribute to the Lakers both this season and beyond. For now, he will have to prove himself in camp, where he will likely battle with Robert Sacre for a roster spot.

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