Lakers’ Byron Scott said lineup changes are coming, but when?

"Lakers Coach Byron Scott talks to the crowd before the tipoff. The Lakers played the Houston Rockets in the opening game of the 2014-2015 Season.  Los Angeles, CA. 10/28/2014 (Photo by John McCoy Daily News )"

“Lakers Coach Byron Scott talks to the crowd before the tipoff. The Lakers played the Houston Rockets in the opening game of the 2014-2015 Season. Los Angeles, CA. 10/28/2014 (Photo by John McCoy Daily News )”

Something appears looming on the Lakers’ itinerary. The timing has not become as definitive as the Lakers (3-13) hosting the Toronto Raptors (13-3) on 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Staples Center.

But outside of tonight’s game, Lakers coach Byron Scott suggested that it’s only a matter of if and not when he will make lineup changes.

“I’m pretty sure I will,” Scott said following Sunday’s morning shootaround at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “Eventually, yes I will.”

But what Scott would not outline what exactly what he would do. He laughed when asked which positions he has thought about tinkering with, but he declined to specify. But after questioning the Lakers’ effort in their 120-119 loss on Friday to Minnesota, Scott has said he is “getting closer” toward making a shuffle in hopes of changing the Lakers’ fortunes that have entailed a three-game losing streak and a 1-8 home record. Scott also held out his lanyard, moving his fingers closer to each other to outline how his figurative “leash” has shortened.

“I don’t look at it as chances. I’m just looking at it as a timetable,” Scott said. “Sometimes it takes two to three months before to see if guys are getting it and if they’re understanding and gelling or picking up things. Or do you have to make changes before you see other results? I’m still in that time frame of giving them time. I’m also much more aware in my mind that I’m going to be making some changes.”

Scott said one of those immediate changes won’t entail adding any players to the roster.

The Lakers have been granted disabled player exceptions for season-ending injuries to Steve Nash ($4.85 million) and Julius Randle ($1.5 million). Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak recently told Los Angeles Newspaper Group that he has applied for a disabled player exception for Xavier Henry ($550,000) and has applied for the NBA’s hardship exception. That tool will allow the Lakers to add a 16th player to their roster while Ryan Kelly misses at least the next five weeks because of a torn right hamstring.

But Scott reported that he and Kupchak talked on Saturday about not making any immediate roster changes. The Lakers have a three-game trip this week in Detroit (Tuesday), Washington D.C. (Wednesday) and Boston (Friday) without any scheduled practice.

“Our conversation yesterday was that we weren’t going to do anything anytime soon,” Scott said. “Having somebody here would negate everything we need. We need guys here for practice.”

In the meantime, Scott spent the Lakers’ recent practice on Saturday expressing more of his frustration stemmed from the Lakers’ loss on Friday to Minnesota. During that time, Scott recalled directly questioning to his players about their pre-game preparation and the importance they put in each game.

“I always was taught when you get ready for the game, you’re already thinking about the guy that you’re guarding the night before, what you had to do against this guy, what you had to do offensively and defensively,” Scott said about his 14-year NBA career that entailed 11 seasons with the Showtime Lakers. “I start going through those processes the night before a game. Then today it’s sticking to a routine and do the things that I normally do to get my mind completely on the game. I asked guys yesterday, I feel like you think the game gets in the way sometimes. You’re already thinking about what you’re doing after the game. That’s a big problem.”

Scott then offered a unique analogy toward how his players should view each game.

“This is not brain surgery. This is simple stuff. It’s a matter of having guys understand how important it is as well,” Scott said. “This should be the most important thing. Unless your wife is in the hospital pregnant and about to have your second, third, fourth or eighth child, that’s important obviously. But if you’re not having anything like that going on, this should be the most important thing of the day.”

What feedback did his players provide?

“I didn’t let them talk,” said Scott, who reported an unnamed assistant coach also spoke during the meeting. “I said my piece and I felt much better.”

Scott showed a similar demeanor following the Lakers’ double-digit loss two weeks ago to Golden State, which entailed questioning the team’s focus level and nearly yelling out an expletive. Then, the Lakers held an extended film session the following night in Atlanta that went over the team’s defensive lapses. The Lakers followed with wins against Atlanta and Houston, but then followed with a four-game losing streak.

Although Scott would not divulge which players might see a reduced role, it’s safe to presume a few things.

Kobe Bryant’s role isn’t changing for obvious reasons including his star stature and league-leading 26.7 points per game average. Scott has called out the Lakers’ frontcourt, including Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer, for their inconsistent communication on defensive pick-and-rolls. On Sunday, Scott lamented that his team only executes those coverages properly 30 percent of the time. Scott has also said Lakers point guard Jeremy Lin doesn’t always appear comfortable running the offense. He also sat out the final 3:45 of the Lakers’ loss on Friday to Minnesota because of defensive struggles against Minnesota guards Zach LaVine and Mo Williams, whom combined for 43 points.

All of which leads Scott to where he is now.

“I’ve always been patient for whatever reason, but it’s a little bit like novocaine. Give it some time. It wears off sooner or later too. So does your patience,” Scott said. “Right now, I’m still patient. I am also starting to think about how short the leash is getting and when is the appropriate time to make those changes. In my mind, it’s going to happen.”

RELATED:

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak keeping options open on disabled players exceptions


Lakers’ Byron Scott questions effort after 120-119 loss to Minnesota


Lakers’ Byron Scott navigating early season challenges with players’ support

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

  • BenjaminZ

    Boozer and Lin out of starting line up it seems…hmmm Byron Scott is a funny guy

    • sws94

      He can’t put Price in for the starting lineup. There’s no alternative for Lin.

  • http://www.jeremylintel.com JeremyLintelligence

    Byron Scott has only himself to blame for being a complete idiot, when it comes to his management of Lin’s and Kobe’s minutes. This is the CORE issue with the Lakers and something I’ve discussed at length in my blog, but something the media seems oblivious to. It’s SO simple, if they just fix that ONE thing, the Lakers will win a ton more games. But BS is so dumb and stubborn, he can’t see the most obvious and important things. Instead, he blames things like pregame prep and such, to shift the blame from himself. Shame on him for blaming his players for his utter ineptness as a coach.

    The truth is, BS is an awful coach who is so blinded to what’s going on. It pisses me off that he’s blaming the players for his own lunacy.

    BS is the one who continues to scrap everything that works and keeps going back to the Kobe iso strategy at the end of games, even though that has failed time miserably time and time again.

    BS is the one who plays Kobe ENTIRE 1st quarters and ENTIRE 3rd quarters regularly, even at this stage of Kobe’s career after major injuries. And he’s completely oblivious to why Kobe suffers in the 4th quarter and has such a low shooting percentage in general.

    BS is the one who gives Price an average of 21.0 minutes (as of November 24th).

    BS is the one who only gives Jeremy Lin, arguably the second best player on the team, only 30 minutes (the second lowest minutes of Lakers starters). Lin is actually the one who should be playing the most minutes, because he doesn’t have capable back ups and he’s still young. But, because BS is blinded by his preconceptions of Jeremy Lin, he has been making the BIGGEST mistake, which is to not allow Lin to play the minutes Lin deserves. If Lakers would just increase Lin’s minutes and usage and decrease Kobe’s minutes and usage, they’d win a ton MORE games. Unfortunately, it appears BS is going to continue making MAJOR MISTAKES and pull Lin out of the starting lineup.

    I’m speechless at BS’s level of ineptness, stupidity, irrationality, etc.

    • GoodDayLA

      i think you miss the point. The Lakers are Kobe’s team, not Lin’s. Kobe is going to shine here, not Lin. This is the Lakers, not the Linkers.

      Scott does want to win but not at all costs. He has to win through Kobe, and I suspect even the Front Office has that as an unspoken mandate. THey also want Lin to play well and I suspect Scott thinks the team would win a lot more playing without Lin. So I’m sure Scott resents having to play Lin as a starter.

      It’s apparent Scott wants to slow the game down, play boring grind it out basketball, and try to hold teams down in an ugly scrum and hope that is enough to give Kobe the ball with a chance to be hero at the end of the game.

      What you write is all true, but when you factor in reality and politics, you can see you are completely missing the boat.

  • CJSHYY

    This is so dumb theory. If Lin couldn’t run O why he could get double double on this game. Also he made his teammates better like Johnson & Davis. Lakers played the best in 3Q & by the end of 3Q they still won the game?! Now you can’t bc Kobe couldn’t run fast break in O (everyone else were great…) so Scott started the BS theory on Lin.. smh! So bad…

  • http://www.jeremylintel.com JeremyLintelligence

    Why does Lin get stuck with the dumbest and most stubborn coaches? I know, because when it comes to Lin, people lose their rational judgement, because they’re blinded by their own preconceptions of Lin. This is why Lin continues to have to deal with obstacles such as his own coach, the media, the refs, etc.

    People need to wake up and see things as they are, not based on what they think it should look like. Jeremy Lin is an undrafted Asian American point guard who can ball. I know it doesn’t comport with what you think the world should look like, but you need to get over it!

    When given the minutes and the usage rate that Lin deserves, Lin will put up stats like he did during Linsanity. Linsanity was not a fluke, Lin’s time with McHale, where he was prevented from playing his game and not given the minutes Lin deserved was the fluke. And Byron Scott, despite clear evidence that he should play Lin more and increase Lin’s usage, is going to make the same mistake, due to his preconceptions of Lin. When is this insanity going to stop?!

  • Dr. Gary Teng

    It seems that BS is always on novocaine 24/7 and that’s why his mind is so confused all the time.

  • LakersFan

    Does Byron not see the problem is mainly coming from Kobe? Kobe hasn’t shown the desire to win taking more shots then usual and not converting most of them. His FG% is the lowest of his career at 37.7%. First time ever below 40%. Nor is he getting his teammates more involved during the games. Plus Kobe’s making poor decisions in game. I’ve always been a supporter of Kobe but Byron needs to be man enough to go to the source of the problem. I’m pretty sure it all started when Byron got hired as coach and told Kobe to be ready to play defense. As a result, the team is last on defense. The two are just not in sync with each other. One of the two is gonna have to put their ego aside and work with the other to turn the team around. Will it be the coach or the leader of the team?

  • GoodDayLA

    lol the comment section is moderated. My real talk entry got put on hold. This site is a joke. Never visiting again.

    • sws94

      My comment is also delayed in moderation. It was a balanced reply about Lin’s comfort level running the offense.

  • sws94

    I think people are jumping to conclusions that Byron is considering not starting Lin. It would make no sense, Lin is improving at running the offense especially now that he is looking for his own shot more. And it isn’t like Price does anything well, he’s not good defensively and he maybe can get assists, but that’s about it. Lin gives a scoring threat, a break down the defense threat, assists threat, face-break threat, he just needs to step it up at end of games and if Byron wouldn’t bring him in so late in the 4th, he’d have a better chance and getting into rhythm to do so.

  • WeWillBeGreatAgain

    Lineup changes were overdue a long time ago…We need somebody who is actually a coach and has a clear idea of what needs to be done..

  • Hank Xiaong

    Like the headline, “New Look, Same Lakers”. TANKING is the only way out.