At long last, the Los Angeles Lakers have their coach for the 2014-15 season.
The hiring process took a long time, even if the man who ended up with the job was widely considered the top candidate for quite a few weeks. But everything became official on Tuesday afternoon, when the organization officially introduced Byron Scott at his introductory press conference.
Everything opened with general manager Mitch Kupchak at the microphone, and he quickly made it clear that he was happy with the eventual agreement between the two parties.
However, Kupchak didn't hold on to the mic for long, as there was a surprise appearance from a few of Scott's former teammates. In what was clearly an indication that the Lakers family was coming back together, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes all took turns at center stage.
First, Magic expressed his support:
As Bleacher Report's Ethan Norof sharply noted, this was one of the few times in a long while that the legendary point guard has been supportive of the organization's moves, rather than disavowing them or just remaining silent:
Kareem and Wilkes also spoke up, both following in Magic's footsteps and expressing their own support:
Then it was Scott's turn to speak, and you could just feel how much passion he had for the Lakers, with whom he'd spent all but three seasons of his 14-year NBA career.
After expressing his regret that Dr. Jerry Buss couldn't be a part of the festivities, he quickly revealed his hopes for the organization.
They can be summed up in a single word: championships.
Off to the right of the makeshift stage, the Lakers had all of their old Larry O'Brien Trophies lined up in a window, from which Jeanie Buss overlooked the proceedings. The goal isn't to look upon those wistfully, but rather to add to that collection.
Not only did Scott express confidence in the front office's plans, he also made it clear that he wanted to implement a defensive mentality for the Lake Show, something that hasn't really been present in the last few years:
The offense is more up in the air:
There's no telling quite yet what that means, though things should become clear early on. Chances are, some elements of the Princeton offense will be included, but that won't be the sole basis of Scott's schemes.
However, that shift in focus isn't the only thing that will change going forward.
There's been a negative feel around Los Angeles in recent years, and confidence needs to start filling up the Staples Center once more. Without confidence and pride, wins aren't going to pile up:
Unsurprisingly, Kobe Bryant was also a topic of conversation.
His admiration for the Mamba was readily visible, as he informed those watching not only that he had a good relationship with the future Hall of Famer, but that he looked forward to talking basketball with one of the sport's great minds:
Another player who came up was Julius Randle, the team's top draft pick. There are high hopes for him within the organization, but playing time could be tough to come by on a roster that also features Carlos Boozer, Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly, Ed Davis and Robert Sacre.
Nonetheless, Scott thinks Randle could earn the starting gig at some point, and "earn" is the operative word there:
After commenting on Jeremy Lin's feistiness, Scott was asked about the Los Angeles Clippers, and he quickly dispelled any notions that the city belonged to a team other than the Lakers:
Given the success of the two organizations, though, he's going to have to make some immediate strides with this roster in order to back up those words. How's he going to do so? By getting his team to play hard and defend:
Defense and the Lakers family were the prevailing themes of the Scott presser, and it's hard to imagine his tenure getting off to a much better start.
Among the appearances of the L.A. legends, the quiet nodding from Magic after every answer, the insightful comments and the promise to change the recent organizational flaws, Scott absolutely nailed this introduction. He's not exactly lacking support at this point.
Now it's time to start figuring out how to make good on his promises.
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