67RIEFNS No. 39: Byron Scott defying convention


The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

Byron Scott has some interesting ideas about how to coach the Lakers.

He plans to give Kobe Bryant an unprecedented amount of playing time and, in turn, expects nearly unprecedented scoring from the aging and recently injured star.

But that’s Kobe, and the Lakers don’t have many other options. Making seemingly ridiculous coaching decisions based on Kobe might just be Scott’s best option.

Scott’s philosophy on 3-pointers, though? That’s something else entirely.

The coach has said he wants the Lakers shooting 10-15 3-pointers per game, a mark unseen by any team in recent years. Other teams around the league have learned 3-pointers are often high-efficiency shots in themselves, and they also space the court to make inside looks easier.

But that’s apparently not how Scott sees it.

He – maybe following a cue from Magic Johnson, who endorsed Scott for the job – has designed an offense that doesn’t feature many 3-point attempts. In that sense, it’s working so far.

Last season, an NBA team made no 3-pointers in a game only once (Grizzlies). The Lakers did it twice in just eight preseason games, and they had another exhibition with only one 3-pointer.

It’s not a lack of accuracy – though it’s partially that – as much as a lack of trying.

In one of those games, the Lakers shot 0-for-3 from beyond the arc. It’s been a couple years since any team attempted so few 3s in a regular-season game (Jazz in 2012).

All in all, the Lakers averaged 10.3 3-point attempts per game and made 30.4 percent of them during the preseason. No team in the last seven years has shot so few 3s per game, and only the 2011-12 Bobcats – who had the worst record in NBA history, 7-59 – shot a lower 3-point percentage in the last 11 years.

The accuracy should improve. Teams generally shoot better as the season progresses, and the Lakers have a few decent outside shooters.

And I expect the attempts per game to rise, too – at least a little. I think/hope Scott was just making a point during the preseason about the importance of getting to the rim, and that is important. In their last preseason game, they attempted 15 3-pointers. That could reasonably be seen as Scott gearing up for his real strategy when it counts.

Still, Scott continues preaching a style unlike anything anyone runs anymore. There’s something to be said about going against the grain, getting quality shots inside while everyone is focused too much on 3-pointers. Maybe this will work out for him and the Lakers

I really don’t think it will, but we’ll get an innovative (by being old-fashioned) offense or a spectacular display of stubbornness. I’m cool with either.