Per Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Scott unloaded on his team after an ugly 109-102 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Nov. 12: "They got pretty much anything they wanted in the paint with no resistance whatsoever. It was just terrible. That was probably the worst defense that we've played from the preseason all the way to this particular point."
And that's saying something.
Because while the loss to the Pelicans—which featured 60 paint points for the Pellies—was an undoubtedly poor showing, it wasn't exactly out of the ordinary. Scott's Lakers have allowed a league-worst 114.4 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com, and an upcoming opponent could mean that eye-popping number will be on the rise.
Scott has voiced frustration plenty of times this season, but he has yet to find a solution to the Lakers' problems. Perhaps that's because the roster he inherited came with precisely zero above-average defenders.
I mean, asking Carlos Boozer for better defense is roughly the equivalent of asking a car on jacks to drive faster. Shout all you want; it's not happening.
And Kobe Bryant, for all of his incredible late-career offensive heroics, essentially stopped playing defense three years ago.
Even if the Lakers had the personnel to build a respectable defense, recent history suggests Scott probably wouldn't have been the man best suited to get results. Scott's Cleveland Cavaliers ranked 26th or lower in defensive efficiency in each of his last three years at the helm.
From the start, this Lakers team was ticketed for defensive disaster.
Going forward, Scott has very little tactical wiggle room to address his team's most glaring flaw. Perhaps that's why his default plan of action includes working harder, playing with more grit and doubling down on effort, as he told Holmes. When there's no hope of fixing the problem with personnel or strategy, ineffectual cliches like those are all that remain.
Credit Scott for his willingness to attack the problem, though.
Perhaps Boozer will see his minutes decrease, a move that could help on D and would please the growing contingent of Ed Davis supporters. And there's always the possibility that the Lakers adopt an ultra-conservative defensive strategy in which they pack the paint and at least make it a little harder for opponents to convert point-blank looks at will.
"We're not even close to our expectations, or at least mine," Scott said.
Unfortunately, this is pretty much what everybody else saw coming a mile away.