Byron Scott criticizes Lakers’ defense, talks about D’Angelo Russell’s maturity issues

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PHOTOGRAPH: Keith Allison/Flickr | Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott

Former head coach Byron Scott gave his insight on how the Los Angeles Lakers are doing under Luke Walton. Scott believes the Lakers defensive issues remain the same despite having an improved roster. He also advised sophomore guard D’Angelo Russell that he still “has a lot of growing up to do”.

Byron Scott became the head coach of the Lakers for two seasons. Unfortunately, during his two-year stint, the Lakers suffered the worst record (17-65) in franchise history. After Kobe Bryant retired, the Lakers decided to undergo a rebuilding process and started by firing Scott.

The arrival of Luke Walton in Los Angeles brought some optimism that the Lakers could be great again. The 36-year-old rookie coach established a healthy relationship with his players which proved to have a major effect on their performance. The Lakers made a surprising 10-10 start and projected to enter the playoffs this season.

Byron Scott thinks the Lakers didn’t improve defensively

Unfortunately, they only won six of their last 24 games and became the worst team in the Western Conference again. In an appearance on AM 570 LA Sports, former head coach Byron Scott claimed that defense remains a major concern for the Lakers.

“They got better personnel, no doubt about that, but the problems are still the same, as far as trying to get them to play defense on a consistent night […] That problem hasn’t changed. Until you get different personnel in there that thinks that way, along those lines, that thinks defense wins championships, then it’s going to continue to be a problem,” Scott said.

At some point, Scott’s assessment is true. Last season, the Lakers ranked 30th in NBA’s defensive efficiency, allowing 109.5 per 100 possessions. In 50 games this season, they are still the worst defensive team in the league.

D’Angelo Russell has a lot of growing up to do, says Scott

Lakers sophomore guard D’Angelo Russell didn’t have a good relationship with his former coach. Aside from playing alongside Kobe Bryant, Scott was the major reason why Russell failed to impress in his rookie season. Scott talked about his former guard and said that maturity issues hold him back from reaching his potential.

“He still has a lot of growing up to do,” Scott said. “He still has a lot of room to improve. There’s times where you see flashes of what we feel that he can be and I’m sure [the coaching staff] feel that same way, that this guy can be a great player in this league. But he’s gonna have to grow up. He’s gonna have to take the responsibilities of being one of the leaders of the team and one of the better players of the team, and until he does that, he’s gonna keep having these up and downs.”

Earlier this season, Russell have shown improvements in his performance. However, he struggled to play consistently on both ends of the floor. Despite the criticisms, Scott believes that Russell could become a great player.

Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/

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