Lakers' Byron Scott defends his coaching style

Lakers' Byron Scott defends his coaching style
Lakers Coach Byron Scott watches from the sideline during the first half of a game against the Trail Blazers on Jan. 23. (Steve Dykes / Associated Press)

It was Byron Scott's turn to answer questions about Byron Scott.

The Lakers coach spoke a day after Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak declined to go in depth with reporters about Scott's future.

Scott met Wednesday with Kupchak regarding the direction he was taking the Lakers in his second season as their coach.

"Our conversation was a good conversation," Scott said Thursday without providing details but definitely defending his coaching style. "You guys call it 'tough love.' I just call it being disciplined — 'This is what I expect from them and this is what I want.' If I'm not getting that on a night-to-night basis, then I've got to look in a different direction. I think those guys understand what I'm doing.


"They understand what I want from them. Lately, if you look at Julius [Randle], he's been doing those things. D'Angelo [Russell] each month has gotten better when you look at the numbers. I'm happy with both of those guys."

Kupchak was neither optimistic nor pessimistic Wednesday when saying, "Byron is under contract and until that changes, or if that changes, we'll let you know."

A vote of confidence? No.

Scott is 32-105 with the Lakers and has one more guaranteed season on his four-year, $17-million contract.

He showed no fear in demoting Randle and Russell 20 games into the season, a move widely disapproved of by Lakers followers. Scott is also comfortable criticizing them in interviews with reporters, not to mention chiding them directly about their short-comings.

He outlined a list Thursday of what he thought would be indicators of his success when the season ended, particularly with the Lakers' young players.

"If they are buying into what I'm talking about, [what] they have to do on a night-to-night basis to get better to be in this league for a long time," Scott said. "If our communication is still going great, if they understand that I still want the best for those guys … and that I'm still going to be a little tough on them, as I always have been … then I've done my job."

Too soon

Turns out Nick Young thought Wednesday was the trade deadline when he entered the Lakers' facility and expressed joy to still be with the team.

It was actually Thursday.

"I love Nick," Scott said, unable to suppress a laugh. "I don't think Nick pays a whole lot of attention to current events, you know?"

The reserve forward still got his wish. The Lakers couldn't find any takers for the two years and almost $11 million left on his contract.

They made no moves at the deadline, which passed during Thursday's practice.

Young had a feeling no one was traded when Scott had players start the arduous "suicides" running drill near the end of practice.

"At first they was going a little light, they didn't want to get us hurt. But then suicides, and I'm like, 'OK, we're here to stay,'" Young said.

Young, 30, is averaging only 7.2 points on poor 35.4% shooting.


Reserve power forward Larry Nance Jr. practiced Thursday and would be available for Friday's game against San Antonio, Scott said. He played only three games over the last month because of a sore knee.



When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 11-44; Spurs 45-8 before Thursday's game.

Record vs. Spurs: 0-3.

Update: The Lakers didn't play too badly against the Spurs two weeks ago, losing at San Antonio, 106-102, on an off night for Kobe Bryant (25 points on nine-for-28 shooting). LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points and Kawhi Leonard 20 for the Spurs. The Spurs remain firmly in second place in the Western Conference standings, a handful of games behind the Golden State Warriors but well ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan