New Lakers head coach Byron Scott revealed during an interview that he’s been been texting his players since he got the job about playing defense this season. He says he even sometimes texts the people his players are with saying “Let him know that this is how it’s going to be, and we’re going to play defense every single night.” Sounds like a tough sell, doesn’t it? Scott knows that if you have a defensive system that works–and players who work hard in it–that you have a chance even on nights when shots are falling. Players–players outside of Chicago, San Antonio and Indiana, that is–don’t really like that kind of talk.
But Scott also said that Kobe Bryant’s first words to him after he was hired were, “We gotta play defense.” That “brought a smile” to Coach Scott’s face because he knows he’ll need help selling the defense idea–and he’s counting on Kobe Bryant to be his chief salesman, getting guys on the same page. It’s going to take some doing. The interview transcript was over 5,000 words and Scott mentioned “defense” twice. (Hey, a guy in the comments mentioned it twice.) Scott and Kobe will have to do more than text: last year only two teams in the league–Utah and Milwaukee–had a worse defensive efficiency ranking than the Lakers.