The Lakers didn’t land a marquee free agent this summer, but coach Byron Scott is nonetheless impressed with the upgrades the team made, as he explains to Bill Oram of the Orange County Register in a wide-ranging Q&A. The team drafted D’Angelo Russell No. 2 overall, struck deals with seven free agents and traded for Roy Hibbert.
“I don’t look at the summer as a big disappointment, to be honest with you,” Scott said. “We missed on a guy we were after, obviously, in LaMarcus [Aldridge, who signed with the Spurs]. But to get Roy and to get Lou Williams and to get Brandon Bass, I think [GM] Mitch [Kupchak] did a hell of a job of recovering and making it a summer that you kind of looked back and said, ‘Man, that’s a pretty good recovery.’ I’m happy with the roster we have. We’ve got competition it seems like at every position, which I think is going to be fun to watch in training camp. We’re still very, very young, with the exception, obviously, of [37-year-old] Kobe [Bryant], so I’m excited about that.”
Scott pledged to Oram that he’d limit Bryant’s minutes and do whatever he could to ensure the legend can avoid injury and “go out standing” if this is indeed his last season. See more from the coach amid our check on the purple-and-gold:
- Scott is unsure if the Lakers will sign Metta World Peace, reportedly a strong possibility, but Scott seems high on what World Peace has done for Julius Randle in their workouts together so far, as Oram relays in the same piece. “He’s made Julius work which I think is great,” Scott said in part. “Then when the game is over he’s always talking to Julius about certain things that he feels Julius can do better. So he’s been a good mentor for him, he’s been great for the other guys to see him out here playing the way he’s been playing. He’s still in great great shape his body looks fantastic and he’s been great as far as seeing him running up and down the floor.”
- Eric Saar of Basketball Insiders goes along with many of his colleagues who take a pessimistic view on the Lakers for this season, with Basketball Insiders scribe Alex Kennedy opining that there’s “no way” the Lakers can make the playoffs with their existing roster, given the competition. Saar thinks the Lakers have a shot to make the playoffs in a year or two, though that might be enough for executive VP of basketball operations Jim Buss, since sister and co-owner Jeanie Buss has said she’ll hold him to his pledge to resign if the team isn’t contending for a title by the spring of 2017.