Byron Scott still not biting when baited about Magic Johnson’s hope that Lakers lose all their games

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson/Photo by Associated Press

 

Try as they might, reporters still haven’t been able to get coach Byron Scott to express any anger toward Lakers great Magic Johnson, who this week said he wants the Lakers to lose every game so they can get the highest possible pick in the draft next year.

“I got a good kick out of it because I know him; if he was on the court, there is no way in the world he would concede a basketball game,” Scott said Thursday after practice. “That’s how competitive he is. So, again, that’s why it makes me laugh.”

Jim Hill, sports anchor for CBS, kept trying, asking Scott if it irritated him.

“It really didn’t,” Scott said. “Like I said, these guys (beat reporters) asked me and I started smiling and, really, inside just laughing about it. So, no, it didn’t irritate me at all.”

 

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Byron Scott talks about what Jeremy Lin must do to thrive in reserve role

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers, NBA.com

 

Power forward Carlos Boozer and point guard Jeremy Lin were removed from the starting lineup two games ago. Boozer has responded well with 12 points on 6 of 12 shooting in a loss to New Orleans on Sunday and 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting Tuesday in a win over Sacramento.

Lin has suffered. He had just three points on 1 of 5 shooting against New Orleans and three points on 1 of 5 shooting against Sacramento. He did have four assists in each game.

“He has to be aggressive, but you’ve gotta be smart,” coach Byron Scott said, when asked what Lin needs to do to thrive. “As a point guard, he has to understand the situations, he has to understand the guys he’s playing with, who needs a shot, when they need a shot, who’s hot and things like that. But still have an aggressive mind-set. I think right now that’s the one or two things that he’s struggling with.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s as a starter or as a reserve, those are the things he has to implement into his game.”

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Lakers react to Steve Nash’s Facebook post on back injury

Although Steve Nash was not at Lakers practice, his Facebook post was the topic of conversation as Byron Scott addressed the post with the media.

Scott read the post moments before speaking and found it sincere and as he agreed with Nash’s assessment on the difference between swinging a golf club versus defending NBA players, he believed Nash was beginning to admit that his playing days may be over.

“It’s given me insight on where he’s leaning towards,” Scott said, “He probably feels he did everything in his power in the last two years to get in unbelievable condition and put himself in a position where he felt he could compete again. But as we went on through training camp, the more he played, the worse it got.”

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Kobe Bryant’s message to Julius Randle: “You ‘F’ this up, you’re a really big idiot”

Julius Randle, seen at a pre-draft workout in June, had 10 points and eight rebounds in a Lakers preseason game Monday. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

Julius Randle, seen at a pre-draft workout in June, had 10 points and eight rebounds in a Lakers preseason game Monday. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

The tough love and accountability hovered over Julius Randle throughout his childhood. He grew up in a single-parent household where his mom ensured he studied well enough to maintain straight A’s. Randle played for an AAU team named the Texas Titans that included comprehensive workshops involving media training, etiquette tips and Bible study. And Randle has clung to these mentors both for guidance through adversity and for staying grounded through success.

Yet, that strict upbringing hardly compares to what Kobe Bryant has offered the Lakers’ rookie all through training camp. Both Bryant and Lakers coach Byron Scott talked to Randle, saying he has the potential to become an NBA All-Star one day IF he mimics Bryant’s work ethic. If not? Randle will just become another forgotten NBA player.

“It means he can’t [bleep] it up.” Bryant explained in more vulgar terms following the Lakers’ 98-91 preseason victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday at Staples Center.

Once the initial laughter from reporters around him subdued, Bryant then offered another punchline. This one came at the expense of ESPN recently ranking him as the NBA’s 40th best player after appearing in only six games last season because of overlapping injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left ankle.

“If you [bleep] this up, you’re a really big idiot,” Bryant said. “ESPN are idiots, but you’re really a big idiot if you manage to [bleep] this up.”
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Lakers’ Julius Randle accepts Byron Scott’s criticism

Rookie forward Julius Randle is eager to show the Lakers they made a smart choice by taking him seventh in the NBA Draft in June. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

Rookie forward Julius Randle is eager to show the Lakers they made a smart choice by taking him seventh in the NBA Draft in June. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

The Lakers selected rookie Julius Randle with their seventh overall draft pick, believing he would become a significant piece toward their rebuilding process. But the Lakers never anticipated the impact would happen right away.

Randle instantly gushed about playing for his favorite team (the Lakers) and teaming up with his favorite player (Kobe Bryant). But after starring for one season at the University of Kentucky, Randle hardly expected to receive a starting nod, immediate praise and instant success in the NBA.

So it hardly seems surprising that Randle has encountered some initial struggles. Or that Lakers’ coach Byron Scott has offered some tough love both with Randle’s playing time and public comments about him.

The most vivid example happened in the Lakers’ 119-86 preseason loss on Thursday to the Utah Jazz in Anaheim. Then, Randle posted only four points on 2-5 shooting and one rebound before sitting out in the entire second half.. The Lakers reported Randle had blisters on both of his feet, but Scott said he still sat so he could benefit more from watching the game unfold from the sidelines.

“I still don’t think the last couple of games he could play as hard as he could play,” Scott said of Randle after the game. “It’s a much faster game. He has to learn how to let the game slow down. But the biggest thing is the effort and physical part of it and playing hard every single time he’s out there. I know he’s thinking a lot right now. There’s a lot to think about on both ends of the floor. I know it might take some time, but I expect him to get it.”

After spending the end of Friday’s practice working endlessly on post drills with various Lakers assistants, Randle walked over toward a small group of reporters. A friendly albeit reluctant talker, Randle seemed to anticipate what was coming.

What did he make of Scott’s harsh criticism?

“He should,” Randle said. “Those [veterans] are proven. I shouldn’t be treated the same as those guys. I haven’t done anything. I have to hold myself responsible. I can’t worry about what other guys do. The only thing I can do is hold myself accountable and improve every day.”
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Kobe Bryant, Byron Scott amused by ESPN’s 40th ranking

"Lakers host their annual Media Day in El Segundo, CA. Monday September 29, 2014.  (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)"

“Lakers host their annual Media Day in El Segundo, CA. Monday September 29, 2014. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)”

A smirk formed on Kobe Bryant’s face. Then, the Lakers star chuckled.

A panel of ESPN media members ranked Bryant as the 40th-best NBA player. If Bryant found his 25th ranking last year “silly” and “laughable,” which adjectives will the Lakers star use to express his disgust about his latest standing?

“I’ve known for a long time they’re a bunch of idiots,” Bryant said.

A smile widened on Byron Scott’s face. Then, the Lakers’ coach shook his head trying to process it all.

What does Scott make of Bryant’s ranking after professing his rookie year that he would soon become the NBA’s best player?

“I think he probably gets a kick out of it. I do too,” Scott said. “I would hate to be one of the guys who doubted him.”
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Lakers downplay Wesley Johnson’s left knee injury

SAN DIEGO – As if the Lakers could afford more injuries.

Lakers forward Wesley Johnson suffered a patellar tendon strain in left knee in the team’s 98-95 preseason victory on Monday over the Denver Nuggets here at Valley View Casino Center. This may have heightened concern considering the Lakers are thin at the small forward spot with Nick Young (torn ligament in right thumb), Ryan Kelly (strained left hamstring) and Xavier Henry (back spasms). But the Lakers generally downplayed the injury with Johnson saying his “knee buckled.”

Lakers coach Byron Scott said the initial diagnosis suggests a “little tendinitis,” though the Lakers will further evaluate during Tuesday’s practice.

“It’ll be a little sore,” Scott said. But there’s nothing that can stop him from playing.”
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Byron Scott says Nick Young could return 4-6 weeks

Within a two-day span, Nick Young’s expected return time shortened by about two weeks.

After his agent anticipated Young missing the next six to eight weeks because of a torn ligament in his right thumb that will require surgery, Lakers coach Byron Scott said on Sunday that he has been told his absence would likely last anywhere between four to six weeks.

The Lakers will not know definitively until Young has surgery with Dr. Steven Shin of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic on Monday.

Young spent Sunday’s practice working on dribbling drills with his left hand and challenging forward Xavier Henry to a foul shooting contest. That entailed Young (left) and Henry (right) shooting with their non-shooting hand. Henry has also stayed sidelined for the past week because of back spasms while also rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee.

“Nothing full court and nothing with running,” Scott said about Henry’s work. “He’s still having a little bit of stiffness. We want to see if we can get that going in the next few days before we get him out there.”
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Lakers finalize Byron Scott’s coaching staff

New Lakers head coach Byron Scott at the Lakers training faciltiy in El Segundo, CA on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

New Lakers head coach Byron Scott at the Lakers training faciltiy in El Segundo, CA on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

The Lakers completely rounded out Byron Scott’s coaching staff in exactly 13 days before training camp begins.

The new revelations, which the Lakers announced on Tuesday, entailed Clay Moser will become one of Scott’s assistants while video coordinator Tom Bialaszewski and video coordinator/player development coach J.J. Outlaw will stay on staff. The basketball operations department also promoted Rondre Jackson to the team’s director of player development after overseeing Club Lakers, while hiring Jordan Wilkes as a basketball operations assistant. Wilkes starred at the University of California (2005-2009) and is the son of Jamaal Wilkes, who played on the Showtime Lakers.

It was already reported in this outlet that the rest of Scott’s staff would include assistants Paul Pressey, Jim Eyen and Mark Madsen as well as assistant/player development coaches Larry Lewis and Thomas Scott, who is Byron’s son.

“I’m excited to have completed my staff with a group of individuals who each possess unique skills, but all share my vision for the future of this team,” Scott said in a statement. “Paul is a great basketball mind with vast experience and someone with whom I have worked before, while Jim returns to the Laker family with a proven track record and a tremendous amount of respect around the league. Thomas has worked very hard through the ranks of the video department, player development and the NBA Development League to earn this position. I’m delighted to retain Mark, Clay, Larry, Tom and J.J., who are all highly qualified and have worked tirelessly with our players throughout the summer to prepare for next season. I can say with certainty that our staff is dedicated to upholding the winning culture and tradition of the Los Angeles Lakers.”
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Byron Scott photo gallery

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

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

You read about Lakers coach Byron Scott preaching about wanting to win an NBA championship even if hefty challenges await. You read about Scott stressing he will stay firm in limiting Kobe Bryant’s minutes, both to maximize his productivity and ensure long-term health. You read about Scott’s tentative starting lineup that currently favors the Lakers’ veteran players. You read about Scott’s revelation that Xavier Henry might be limited during training camp because of his left wrist and right knee have not fully healed since having surgery four months ago. You read about Scott nearly finalizing the rest of his coaching staff.

But pictures always tell a 1,000 words. And in the case of LANG’s photo gallery of Scott’s exclusive interview at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, plenty of images tell various stories.

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Lakers’ Byron Scott preaching NBA championship despite challenges

Lakers’ Byron Scott believes he can hold firm on limiting Kobe Bryant’s minutes

Lakers’ Byron Scott tentatively penciling in veterans as starters

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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