Lakers Media Day Wrapup
On the eve of his first training camp as Lakers head coach, Byron Scott acknowledged the uncertainty and lowered expectations surrounding his club – and he is thrilled by it.
“I love the fact that pretty much everybody has written us off, and I think that’s fuel for the fire,” Scott said at Monday’s Media Day. “I’m obviously gonna use that to the best of my abilities to talk to our players about how people are viewing us as a basketball team.”
Inheriting a team that lost a franchise-record 55 games last season -- due in no small part to 319 games lost to injury -- Scott relishes the opportunity to operate under the radar. However, with that comes plenty of questions, including about aging stars Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, who combined to play just 21 games last year.
Fortunately for Scott, both players expressed confidence in their offseason recoveries.
“I haven’t played for quite a while, and the size of the challenge ahead of me is really forcing me to focus in a lot more than I ever have,” Bryant said. “That’s a 360-degree thing. That’s nutrition. That’s training. That’s mentally preparing. That’s everything. To play at this age and through all the injuries, you have to have that commitment.”
Both Bryant and Nash said they would be open to having Scott manage their playing time to reduce the strain on their bodies.
Prior to last year, Bryant averaged more than 38 minutes per game in consecutive seasons. Nash, meanwhile, has missed at least 20 games in three consecutive years. Though he admits sitting out last season was tough to endure, Nash is optimistic about the potentially final chapter of his NBA career.
“I was in a really, really bad place last year during the winter,” he said. “I was largely unaware of how bad I was until I got out of it. But now I’ve realized: This is my last year. There’s no guarantees that I’ll get to play any games this year.
“The truth is I have a lot of miles on my back. … I’m just trying to enjoy every moment every day, keep building, do what it takes to get myself a chance, and with a little bit of luck maybe I’ll get to play a ton this year.”
On the opposite end from Nash, rookie Julius Randle’s career is just beginning. The No. 7 overall pick in this year’s draft, Randle doesn’t feel entitled to a certain amount of playing time, especially while sharing the power forward position with two-time all-star Carlos Boozer.
“Me coming into the NBA as a (rookie), you’ve got to prove yourself, And I know that, and that doesn’t bother me at all,” Randle said. “I don’t want anything given to me in the first place.
“(Boozer) has been at this level, and he’s played at such a high, productive level. So whether he starts or not, he deserves what he gets because he’s put in the time and he’s been successful.”
Randle, Boozer and the rest of the Lakers are set to take the court for Scott's first practice on Tuesday morning.
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