After the resignation of Mike D’Antoni, the Los Angeles Lakers coaching search took nearly three months before they eventually hired their former player, Byron Scott. Since being introduced as the new head coach, Scott has talked about his relationship with Kobe Bryant and developing a defensive mindset.
In a recent interview with A Martinez of 89.3 KPCC, Scott was very clear in saying that he will not sacrifice the five-time champion’s body to try to win a game:
How’s that moment going to be like, though? Because Kobe has this intimidation thing happening for him. You’ve known him since he was a kid, but he’s a guy that’s won five titles, he’s considered one of the greatest of all time…How do you ‘stand fast,’ as you say?
Well, first thing, I ain’t never been intimidated by anybody, so that won’t be a problem. But he’ll have to know from me, and I’ll tell him afterwards, when I say, ‘No, you can’t go in,’ I love him as a person, I love him as a player, and again I’m not going to sacrifice his body just to try to win a game.
With a head coach in place and the roster likely complete for now as training camp approaches, all the focus has been on the return of Bryant. At the age of 36 and entering his 19th season, there are question marks on what level of play he will be at especially after two consecutive season-ending injuries.
Along with an emphasis on defense, Scott has been very clear on his approach with Kobe’s minutes. Although Kobe will do whatever it takes to win games even if it means playing major minutes, Scott will do his part to ensure that the five-time champion remains healthy for the remainder of his career.[divide]
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