Lakers’ Carlos Boozer says his benching came as a surprise

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This year’s Lakers squad has a good chance of becoming one of the worst defensive teams in NBA history.

Byron Scott would rather not see that happen, obviously, so he recently made some changes to the starting lineup.

Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer headed to the bench in favor of Ronnie Price and Ed Davis, though the first game after the switch, a 104-87 loss to the Pelicans, didn’t exactly yield the desired results.

Boozer has been singled out by Scott before for his inadequacies on the defensive end of the floor, but still claims that his removal from the starting lineup came as a surprise.

From Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

Carlos Boozer eventually emerged out of the trainer’s room, the hour-long wait after Monday’s practice delaying the inevitable answer on what he thought of his recent benching.

“It was a surprise. I didn’t expect that,” Boozer said. “I’m a team player. If it helps the team win, that’s what it’s going to be.”

Boozer left the locker room after the Lakers’ loss on Sunday to New Orleans without speaking to reporters. He later admitted to the L.A. News Group, “I don’t know if it’s the answer.”

The question is whether you believe L.A. has the personnel to be a better defensive squad, but just hasn’t been properly motivated (or coached well enough yet) to execute.

It’s debatable at best, but what we do know is that Boozer, while individually not a great defender, was on the floor plenty as a member of the Bulls, and was able to be a part of some teams that featured stellar defensive lineups.

Scott talks a lot about defense, but he has yet to be able to get his players on the same page. His last head coaching stint in Cleveland featured some historically bad defense, too, which makes you wonder if he’s capable of enacting change on that end of the floor.

But whether he is or he isn’t, Scott had to try something to shake things up following what’s now become a 5-16 start to the season. Boozer being a part of that shift should have been anything but a surprise.