Lakers’ Byron Scott believes rebuilding can turn as quickly as his time with Nets

"Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott studies the action in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)"

“Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott studies the action in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)”

NEW YORK — His first season here coaching the former New Jersey Nets just ended nearly 14 years ago, a 26-52 record prompting Byron Scott to make one understandable conclusion.

“We needed to make a bunch of changes,” Scott said. “We need to get some guys in here to play the type of style that I wanted to play and that were dedicated to winning.”

It did not take long for Scott to receive his wish. The Nets traded star guard Stephon Marbury to the Phoenix Suns for another star guard Jason Kidd in the 2001 offseason, a deal that excited Scott so much that he recalled joking to former president Rod Thorn that he would drive to Phoenix just to pick Kidd up.

Scott recently characterized his relationship with Kidd as “cordial” and described his reputation with an expletive amid his suspicion that he influenced Scott’s firing during the 2003-04 season. But Kidd’s presence, coupled with Kenyon Martin, Kerry Kittles and three first-round draft picks accelerated the Nets’ rebuilding process. They went from 26-56 in the season 2000-01 to a 52-30 record the following year. The Nets also made two consecutive NBA Finals appearances.

The Lakers (19-52) enter Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets (31-40) at Barclays Center only three losses away from tying last year’s worst record in L.A. franchise history.

And yet….

“The turnaround can be just as quickly here as it was in New Jersey,” Scott said. “But obviously you have to hit a home run in the free agent market and with your draft pick. We have the capability of doing that.”
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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin believes he will play Sunday vs. Brooklyn

"New Los Angeles Lakers player Jeremy Lin talks about the upcoming season before signing autographs for fans at a shoe store in Culver City, CA on Thursday, September 25, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze) "

“New Los Angeles Lakers player Jeremy Lin talks about the upcoming season before signing autographs for fans at a shoe store in Culver City, CA on Thursday, September 25, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze) “

NEW YORK — Jeremy Lin refused to shake a reporter’s hand.

No, the Lakers guard wasn’t upset with something he wrote. Lin had a more practical reason.

“I don’t want to get you sick,” Lin said following practice on Saturday at the Barclays Center.

Lin still feels what Lakers coach Byron Scott called “under the weather” related to sinus issues in recent days that has prompted the Lakers’ guard to take antibiotics, including pain killers. Yet, Lin completed all of Saturday’s practice. Lin also sounded confident on the question whether he will play when the Lakers (19-52) visit the Brooklyn Nets (31-40) on Sunday at Barclays Center.

“Yeah,” Lin said, “unless it gets worse.”

Scott also reported that Lakers forward Carlos Boozer still has the flu, while Lakers forward Jordan Hill also “feels under the weather.” Incidentally, those two players sat out the past three games, but the Lakers have pinned those DNP’s to develop their younger forwards. Scott held out the possibility Hill could play both against Brooklyn followed by a back-to-back on Monday in Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, Scott said he has not received any update surrounding Nick Young’s fractured left kneecap. He has missed the past 14 games, and Scott presumes Young will miss the rest of the Lakers’ two-game trip before the team evaluates him back in Los Angeles.


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

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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin plans to play vs. Toronto despite nursing sinus illness

Los Angeles Lakers' Jeremy Lin, left, puts up a shot against Phoenix Suns' Earl Barron during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (File photo/AP Photo)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Jeremy Lin, left, puts up a shot against Phoenix Suns’ Earl Barron during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif. (File photo/AP Photo)

TORONTO — Jeremy Lin openly envisioned a full day off of mostly sleep would completely clear up his sinuses.

That didn’t happen at all.

Lin reported “no progress” in his ailment in recent days, but he maintained he feels good enough to play when the Lakers (19-51) visit the Toronto Raptors (42-30) tonight at Air Canada Centre.

“I feel all right,” said Lin, who reported no issues with his recent issues with back alignment. “I feel good enough to play.”

Lin believes the lack of improvement simply stems from the frequent travel and various climate changes on the Lakers’ current trip. The itinerary has included stops in Oklahoma City (Tuesday), Minneapolis (Wednesday) and Toronto (Thursday-Friday).

Yet, Lin has still thrived through those circumstances. He has averaged 22.3 points on 53.7 percent shooting and 5.67 assists in the past three games. Still, Lin admittedly encountered frustration when he sat out for most of the fourth quarter and overtime of the Lakers’ win on Wednesday in Minnesota despite scoring 19 points.

“I just try to go out there and do my best,” Lin said. “It’s by the grace of the God. I take a lot of medicine with Advil and Tylenol and whatgever the training staff gives me. Then I try to play. It’s not the worst thing trying to play through an injury or something like that. That’s more difficult.”

If Lin cannot play, however, Lakers coach Byron Scott said he would “probably” start Wayne Ellington, while also granting more minutes to Jabari Brown.


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Lakers’ Byron Scott returns to sideline after attending funeral services for mother

"Lakers head coach Byron Scott talks about the upcoming NBA season at the Lakers training faciltiy in El Segundo, CA on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze) "

“Lakers head coach Byron Scott talks about the upcoming NBA season at the Lakers training faciltiy in El Segundo, CA on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze) “

TORONTO — Byron Scott looked relaxed and sounded at peace as he sat on the scorer’s table following morning shootaround in preparation for when the Lakers (19-51) visit the Toronto Raptors (42-30) tonight here at Air Canada Centre.

But this week became a whirlwind for the Lakers coach. He missed two games this week in Oklahoma City and Minnesota so he could attend funeral services for his mother, Dorothy, who died March 15 at the age of 72.

“It’s good to be back with the team and guys,” Scott said. “I’ve been holding up pretty well. It was good Wednesday to put everything to rest. It’s obviously been heavy on my mind and still is. But I know my mom. She would say, ‘Keep moving on, keep doing what you’re doing and keep trying to do it to the best of your ability.’”

Incidentally, Scott spoke during funeral services on Wednesday about her mother’s courage and strength, two qualities that he credited toward helping him coach a full week while privately grieving over her passing. Scott shared that he broke down crying in Golden State the first morning following Dorothy’s death. But as he coached three games and conducted a full week of practice, various Lakers players said Scott did not show any noticeable signs of distress. Forward Ed Davis and Wayne Ellington, in particular, said they were only aware of the news once the Lakers announced it on March 22, two days before the team’s five-game trip.

“Most of the time it was being with those guys helping me get through it. I felt it the most when I was at home or in my office,” Scott said. “I just think about her saying stay strong. I know her. She’s the strongest person I’ve ever been around. That kept me going and seeing my grandkids and seeing my kids. That kept everything in the right perspective.”

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Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson criticizes his play despite game-winning FT’s in win over Minnesota

Los Angeles Lakersí Jordan Clarkson, center, shoots between Minnesota Timberwolvesí Gorgui Dieng, left, and Chase Budinger during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Minneapolis. Clarkson led the Lakers with 20 points in their 101-99 overtime win. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Los Angeles Lakersí Jordan Clarkson, center, shoots between Minnesota Timberwolvesí Gorgui Dieng, left, and Chase Budinger during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Minneapolis. Clarkson led the Lakers with 20 points in their 101-99 overtime win. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MINNEAPOLIS — This forgettable game appeared on the verge of continuing, a horrible proposition for both the Lakers, Timberwolves and any basketball fan willing to watch.

Yet, here the Lakers and Timberwolves stood, two NBA lottery bound teams that proved nearly equally effective in squandering late-game opportunities and failing to win. It appeared that ugly trend would persist when Lakers guard Wayne Ellington missed a contested layup mere moments before it appeared the game would go into double overtime. But then Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson rebounded the ball, attempted a putback and drew a foul on Minnesota guard and former UCLA standout Zach LaVine on a call that later became highly disputed.

Clarkson then calmly approached the foul line. He sank both shots with .03 seconds remaining. Finally the game ended, the Lakers securing 101-99 overtime victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at Target Center. Yet, Clarkson hardly sounded happy afterwards. And no, the reasons had nothing to do with the Lakers (19-51) hurting their NBA lottery chances with a 3 1/2 game lead over Minnesota (16-55) and two-game cushion over Philadelphia (18-54).

“I think I took a few steps back,” said Clarkson, aware that he scored a team-leading 20 points on only 6-of-16 shooting and committed six turnovers. “I didn’t take care of the ball well. I was holding it a little bit too much on the offensive end. I have to keep growing, watch the film and learn from it.”

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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin, Jordan Clarkson thrive as backcourt duo in loss to Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY – The two competitive guards stepped out on the floor together to start the game for the first time all season. It became clear that the implications could prove long-lasting.

Yes, Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson made history in the Lakers’ 127-117 loss to the Oklahoma City on Tuesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena, marking the first time two Asian-Americans ever started together in the backcourt in the NBA. Lin is the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent and Clarkson is half-Filipino, a development significant enough for Lin to tweet out a photo of them on his Instagram account sitting together afterwards on the team plane.

Yet, this development in an otherwise devastating loss proved more than just the two making history. Both Clarkson and Lin offered a promising first impression that they could work together as a starting back-court duo. While Clarkson posted a career-high 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting, seven assists, four rebounds and a career-high three blocks in 36 minutes, Lin added 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting and seven assists in 30 minutes.

“It spreads the floor and either one of us can push it,” Clarkson said about starting with Lin. “It’s an up tempo style. It’s good to have two point guards out there that can move the ball and get to the rim and finish.”
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Lakers’ Paul Pressey jokes he’s “substitute teacher” for Byron Scott

Lakers assistant coach Paul Pressey, center, sitting between head coach Byron Scott, left, and trainer Gary Vitti, has used his years of playing and coaching in the NBA to help the Lakers get through this difficult season. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)

Lakers assistant coach Paul Pressey, center, sitting between head coach Byron Scott, left, and trainer Gary Vitti, has used his years of playing and coaching in the NBA to help the Lakers get through this difficult season. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)

OKLAHOMA CITY — The new responsibility came up unexpectedly.

Lakers coach Byron Scott will stay in Southern California on Tuesday and Wednesday to attend funeral services for his mother, Dorothy, who died last week at the age of 72. That means Scott’s lead assistant, Paul Pressey, will take over head-coaching duties both when the Lakers (18-50) visit the Oklahoma City Thunder (40-30) tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena and on Wednesday in Minnesota.

“I’m the substitute teacher,” Pressey joked.

So does that mean his Lakers’ students will act up without the lead man in charge?

“No,” Pressey said, chuckling. “I got my lesson plan.”

The lesson plan involves the Lakers’ tough task in limiting Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook and building off a rare win against Philadelphia after losing nine of their last 11 games. Pressey also said there “won’t be a lot of new wrinkles” from what Scott has normally done, other than a new starting lineup that will feature Jeremy Lin, Jordan Clarkson, Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly and Tarik Black.

Pressey has extensive NBA assistant coaching gigs with the Golden State Warriors (1992-94), San Antonio Spurs (1994-2000), Orlando Magic (2000-04), Boston Celtics (2004-06), New Orleans Hornets (2007-10), Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-13) and Lakers (present). Pressey also had an 11-year NBA career where he was named on three consecutive NBA All-Defensive teams and is credited for being the first so-called point forward. Still, Pressey has never been an NBA head coach.

“It’s nothing new for me,” Pressey said. “I’ve been around this a long time. The head coaching job is a little different position. But the most important thing is getting the guys to respond at what you’re trying to do. It’s the same thing we’ve been trying to do all year long, to get these guys to perform at a high level.”

Pressey plans to meld the various qualities he learned as an assistant under various coaches, including Don Nelson, Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers and Scott. Pressey was Scott’s lead assistant as well in New Orleans and Cleveland.

“The biggest thing is communication with the players and getting them to respond the right way so we can compete at a high level,” Pressey said. “All those guys you speak of do a great job and make the game fun for the players. You try to make it fun for them. It’s a game of mistakes. When you make mistakes, it’s okay. You just not try to make the same mistakes over and over.”

Pressey laughed at whether a head-coaching position remains on his “bucket list.”

“It still is at times, but I’m in a great situation,” Pressey said. “When I first came aboard with Coach Scott six years ago, I told him ‘I’m at the point where I already have 15 to 16 years in and I’m just looking forward to helping you build a program into a championship situation.’ I’m not looking. But if someone calls, you always listen. But at this point now, I’m behind him 100 percent in trying to help him rebuild this thing into winning ways.”

The Lakers are far away from that, only five losses away from tying last year’s record for the worst in L.A. franchise history. But he touted the Lakers’ progress in remaining competitive and the emergence of rookie guard Jordan Clarkson.

Pressey also found similarities in Scott’s previous rebuilding projects that included some success in New Orleans (two consecutive playoff appearances) and struggles in Cleveland (a 66-144 record through three years following LeBron James’ departure).

“It’s very similar,” Pressey said. “He has the right mindset in trying to put us back into a position where the young guys get a chance to grow and looking forward to the future back to winning ways. We’re headed that way. The young players get a chance to play and see what they can do on the floor. We’ll see if they are guys we’ll want for the future.”


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

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Lakers’ Jeremy Lin, Ed Davis could start soon

Nearly every time he touched the ball, Jeremy Lin performed acts of magic that left everyone in awe.

He attacked the basket with relentlessness. Lin threw passes behind his back, over his shoulder and between defenders to set up open shots for teammates. He fulfilled all of these duties despite nursing back spasms had sent his alignment off six to eight inches only four days ago.

Nearly every time someone else touched the ball, Ed Davis performed acts of magic that left everyone in shock.

He swatted away shots like a volleyball player. He wiped the glass like a window cleaner. He ran up and down the court like a track runner.

Mix all those ingredients together, and Lin and Davis kept the Lakers well nourished in their 101-87 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at Staples Center. Lin fed the Lakers with a season-high 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting and five assists. Davis stuffed the box score with a team-high 11 rebounds and four blocks. And after passing up opportunities to pair the two together, Lakers coach Byron Scott strongly suggested both Lin and Davis will become part of the Lakers’ starting lineup.

“I’ll consider it,” Scott said. “It’s something I’m thinking about. But I’ll let you guys know soon.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott downplays how 101-87 win over Philadelphia hurts lottery odds

File photo: Lakers head coach Byron Scott will miss games at Oklahoma City and Minnesota this week to attend funeral for his mother, Dorothy. (Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News)

File photo: Lakers head coach Byron Scott will miss games at Oklahoma City and Minnesota this week to attend funeral for his mother, Dorothy. (Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News)

The seconds ticked away before the outcome became official, prompting the vast segment of Lakers fans to stand up on their feet.

They cheered for a Lakers win. They clapped for the well-fought effort. They even chanted that they wanted free tacos.

For a rare time this season, the Lakers delivered on all those goods. A 101-87 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at Staples Center prompted the non-sellout crowd of 17,891 fans at Staples Center to show the elation that they once enjoyed in years that ended in a championship parade.

“I didn’t hear it,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “Really, I didn’t hear it.”

Well, nearly everyone else heard it. And the setting featured a dose of irony considering the Lakers’ latest win could actually lead to a greater loss. The Lakers (18-50) ended a four-game losing streak. But the outcome could hurt their lottery odds in retaining their top five pick that they otherwise owe to Philadelphia as part of the Steve Nash trade with Phoenix.

The Sixers (17-53) have the edge for the NBA’s third-worst record, while the Lakers have the league’s forth-worst mark. The Lakers, currently have an 82.8-percent chance of retaining their top-five pick. But the odds in keeping that pick increases to 96 percent with the league’s third worst record. The Lakers also have a 10.4 percent chance in landing the top pick, odds that increase to 15.6 percent with the third-worst record.

And yet…

“From the feedback I’ve been getting people from around the city,” Scott said, “they’re enjoying the way our guys play, how hard they play and the way they compete. So I’m not surprised by it.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott to miss two games for mother’s funeral

"Lakers head coach Byron Scott talks about the upcoming NBA season at the Lakers training faciltiy in El Segundo, CA on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze) "

“Lakers head coach Byron Scott talks about the upcoming NBA season at the Lakers training faciltiy in El Segundo, CA on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze) “

Lakers coach Byron Scott will stay in Southern California during the first part of the team’s five-game trip this week both in Oklahoma City (Tuesday) and Minnesota (Wednesday) to attend the funeral of his mother, Dorothy. She passed away last Sunday at the age of 72.

Scott plans to rejoin the Lakers on Thursday in time to coach games in Toronto (Friday), Brooklyn (Sunday) and Philadelphia (Monday). Lakers assistant coach Paul Pressey, will serve as the acting head coach during Scott’s absence. Scott spoke in a stoic tone reflecting on her mother’s passing before the Lakers (19-50) hosted the Philadelphia 76ers (17-52) at Staples Center. Scott also recalled her mother feeling “pretty happy” after the Lakers hired him as head coach last summer.

“She was telling me for years that it would happen,” said Scott, who played 11 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Showtime Lakers where he won three championships. “So she was a big basketball fan. She was really excited.”

What will Scott remember most about her mother?

“Her strength. Her courage,” Scott said. “My mom was terrific. I don’t want to talk about it anymore because you’re going to get me [emotional]. So let’s just leave it at that.”

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

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