It's been widely expected that Byron Scott would be given the job eventually and it's finally official. Let's see how the move may affect the NBA betting odds and whether he's indeed the right man for the job.
If we look over the futures list, it still suggests this could be another long season for the Lakers. They're listed at +8000 to win the title, which puts them #19 out of 30 teams. They're ahead of only the Nuggets, Pelicans, Timberwolves, Kings and Jazz when it comes to Western Conference squads.
Scott Takes Over
Byron Scott isn't going to be the savior for the franchise, but he's a nice fit. As a player, Scott was the fourth overall pick in the 1983 draft and he went on to play until 1998, winning three NBA championships in the process. He was a member of the Lakers for 11 years.
Scott began his coaching career in 1998, starting out as an assistant for the Sacramento Kings. He went on to be the head coach for the New Jersey Nets (2000-2004), New Orleans Hornets (2004-2009) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-2013), winning the Coach of the Year award with the Hornets in 2008.
After serving as a TV analyst for the Lakers this past season, he became the front-runner when the head coaching position became available with the departure of Mike D'Antoni. He interviewed three times and was eventually offered the job.
Scott brings a different kind of mentality to the team, preaching toughness and hard work, especially on the defensive end. It'll be interesting to see how his message is received by Kobe Bryant and company, but overall this seems like the right move for the organization.
Black Mamba Health
A coaching change is always worth addressing, but let's not beat around the bush here: Kobe's health is the single most important factor for the Lakers heading into the 2014/15 NBA season.
Injuries have gotten in the way in recent years, but we all know what the Black Mamba is capable of when at 100 percent. He was expected to be back and healthy by January after recovering from a knee issue, so there's no reason to expect any kind of limitation once training camp rolls around.
Despite being 35 years old, Kobe remains one of the game's best and we've seen him make the Lakers relevant in the playoff picture numerous times before. Will he do it again this season?
Let's run through the depth chart and see how the roster is shaping up for the Lakers.
At the point Jeremy Lin figures to start, with the team hopeful they can get Steve Nash on the court and contributing too. We all know who's starting at the two, while Jordan Clarkson has impressed this summer and could get some playing time as well.
The options are limited at small forward, though right now it appears Nick Young and Xavier Henry will be fighting for minutes.
One position where LA doesn't need help is the four, where Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle, Ed Davis and Jordan Hill all figure to contribute.
That leaves Robert Sacre as the only true center on the team, though we fully expect the likes of Boozer and Hill to fill in and play significant minutes down low, that is if the Lakers don't make any further moves in free agency.
Who knows. It all depends on Kobe Bryant's health.
If the Black Mamba is fully healthy, he could drag the Lakers to the playoffs single-handedly. He's done it before.
The roster is still very much a work in progress, but there are some interesting pieces and the team should respond much better under Scott's watch than they did under D'Antoni. We recommend holding off on backing Los Angeles with your NBA picks until we see them in action and get a better idea of what to expect.