After a sluggish start to the season, Lakers head coach Byron Scott delivered on his promise to make adjustments to the team’s lineup. Ronnie Price and Ed Davis will start in place of Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer in the Lakers’ matchup against New Orleans on Sunday.
Scott said that inserting Price and Davis is an attempt to “match up personalities,” as he hopes both players’ energy and defensive approach will be contagious for the rest of the starting five.
“We’re 5-15,” Scott said. “We haven’t played the way I think we’re capable of playing, and there are some nights where I question our energy, our effort. And the one thing I haven’t questioned about either one of these guys is their effort. I think what Ed brings to us is a defensive presence as far as protecting that basket as well. So I’m looking forward to seeing how those guys react.”
Price, who will make his 36th start in 445 games, is averaging 3.9 points and 3.7 assists in 20.7 minutes for the Lakers. Meanwhile, Davis is contributing 6.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 21.9 minutes.
Still, Scott maintains that the way both play tells more than the numbers they put up.
“(I’m) just trying to inject some energy to our team — but also to let them know: If you think your minutes are guaranteed, it’s not. It really isn’t,” Scott said. “To be honest with you from a coaching standpoint, I’ve got nothing to lose. I really don’t. We’re 5-15 right now, and I know we should be better. And I hope they feel the same way, but if they think that’s good enough, they’re fooling themselves.”
Scott plans on assessing his new starting lineup every five games, and he sees possible changes within 10-15 games if improvement is not made.
In particular, he wants to see progress on defense, as the original starting lineup allowed opponents to shoot 65.0 percent, which was the second-worst mark among all five-man units.
“I’m not looking at it as a situation where (it’s) a demotion,” Scott said. “It’s more of: We gotta do something. The starting team hasn’t played really well at this particular point, and I gave it 20 games to see if that would turn around. And I saw some ups and downs, and I want to see more of an even keel. I want to see more of an overall team that’s gonna play hard every single game, compete.”