Byron Scott says draft lottery only thing on Lakers' agenda

Byron Scott says draft lottery only thing on Lakers' agenda
Lakers Coach Byron Scott, talking to rookie guard Jordan Clarkson during a game against the Clippers on April 7, has his eye on the future with the upcoming NBA draft. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

After meeting with General Manager Mitch Kupchak and the team's players for exit meetings, Coach Byron Scott told the media he didn't regret the Lakers' wins over the Philadelphia 76ers (18-64) and Minnesota Timberwolves (16-66), which helped slot his team fourth in the NBA draft lottery.

"No, glass is half-full," said Scott.


The Lakers (21-61) will give their 2015 first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers if they fall out of the top five, a 17.2% chance.

While Scott was willing to sit some of his veteran players, to evaluate younger talent, he refused to tank games intentionally -- yet the Lakers' future hinges on the results of the draft lottery.

"At the top is May 19," he said.  "That's the only thing that's on the agenda right now."

Scott, who won three titles with the team as a player, led the Lakers, in his first year as coach, to their worst winning percentage in franchise history.

"It's done with.  In that sense, you need to move forward," said Scott, though he admitted the year left a bad taste in his mouth.

His thoughts naturally turn to next season.  He'll meet over the coming days with Kupchak and owner/executive Jim Buss to discuss the roster.

"We feel we have a bright future," Scott said.  "We have a lot of room to improve as a basketball team.  We have a lot of room under the cap, some picks . . . and free agency in July."

Scott said he didn't expect the Lakers to make the playoffs this season, though he thought they'd be more competitive.  A long list of injuries complicated matters.

"As a coach, you want it to turn around as quickly as possible," Scott said.  "As long as [the front office is] patient, I'm patient."

Scott said he was impressed by the play of rookies Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black, along with forward/center Ed Davis -- calling them "guys who did themselves very proud this season."

"This kid can play, and he'll get better if he continues to work, keeps that hunger," said Scott of Clarkson.

He hopes to have a nice mixture of young players and veterans next season.

Kobe Bryant will spend most of the summer working his way back from a shoulder injury.

"He's just starting to lift weights," said Scott on Bryant's rehab.  "He looked good ... but I don't want him to overdo it."

If Scott has any regrets over the lost season, it's giving Bryant heavier minutes early in the season -- although the Lakers coach said, "I don't know if it had anything to do with the injury."

Scott also noted that his "guys never quit," the losses were not from lack of effort but of healthy, available talent.

The Lakers only have four players with guaranteed contracts next season (Nick Young, Julius Randle, Ryan Kelly and Bryant).

Scott should have an upgraded roster next year, especially if the team doesn't lose their pick because of a handful of wins near the end of a lost season.

Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.