Byron Scott stepped foot at Compton Centennial High on Tuesday, eager to stress to the 400 freshmen and sophomores the need to prioritize education than over striving to become a professional athlete. But it turns out Scott needed to provide more life lessons.
Case in point, one student asked Scott if Kobe Bryant will start this season after playing only six games last year because of overlapping injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee.
“Really?” Scott said in an incredulous tone. “You didn’t really ask me that question, did you? Seriously.”
But the student did. Apparently, Bryant’s five NBA championships, fourth place standing on the all-time scoring list, two-year, $48.5 million extension, and his strong relationship with Scott still put doubt on if the Lakers’ star player will actually start. But entering a season in which the Lakers are only a year removed from cementing their worst record in L.A. franchise history, Scott suggested he will face plenty of unanswered questions in training camp surrounding his depth chart.
“We got one Hall of Famer. Really, two. Steve Nash is another guy, but we have to see if Steve is going to be healthy,” Scott said, referring to Nash’s back issues that limited him last season to 15 games. “We’re obviously talking about Kobe Bryant. Other than that, all the other starting spots are up for grabs.”
The possibilities remain endless.
Does Scott rely on Nash’s experience point guard or on Jeremy Lin’s potential in both his play and providing Nash some reinforcements? Does Scott give Carlos Boozer a chance to have a bounce-back season from Chicago by starting at power forward, or give rookie Julius Randle an immediate chance to develop? Will Scott start the Lakers with a dosage of “Swaggy P,” or will he save Nick Young to back up either Xavier Henry or Wesley Johnson? Finally, how will Scott handle a bloated frontcourt that also includes Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre?
It appears as if Scott will spend plenty of the Lakers’ training camp beginning in late September seeking answers to these questions.
“You got to win the starting lineup job,” Scott said. “It’s not given to you. That’s the problem with a lot of people. You expect things to be given to you. You have to earn it. When we start training camp, they have to earn the right to start. It’s a privilege.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org