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The Los Angeles Lakers finally filled their head coaching vacancy, opting to go with Byron Scott, who interviewed for the position three times and got the nod over the likes of Lionel Hollins, George Karl and Alvin Gentry, among others.
So why did it take Scott three interviews before the Lakers made a decision? Why is Scott the right fit in L.A.?
Here are four reasons why the Lakers hired Scott as their new head coach:
1. He’s Kobe’s pal
Obviously, Kobe Bryant is the face of the franchise, and he has long petitioned for Scott to coach the team. Bryant was not a fan of either the Mike Brown or Mike D’Antoni hire, so the team finally made a decision to make their superstar happy.
Back in May, a report indicated that not only would Kobe OK the Scott hire, but he’d welcome it, largely because of the their relationship and Scott’s good relationship with other players across the NBA. Bryant previously praised Scott for being his mentor early on in his career.
2. He bleeds purple and gold
Scott has a storied career in Los Angeles, beginning with his ties tot he Showtime Lakers. He’s previously served as a television analyst for the team and has maintained relationships with the organization.
3. Injection of D
Scott is notorious for defensive-minded teams, which is exactly what the Lakers were not known for under Mike D’Antoni.
In 2013-14, L.A. was ranked 28th out of 30 teams in terms of defensive rating. The team allowed opponents to shoot 46.8 percent.
Scott’s Nets were ranked No. 1 in the league and his Hornets defenses finished in the top 10 twice. He had less success with Cleveland, but did improve from 27th to 17th with lesser talent.
4. He’s a good stop-gap
One theory floated around about the Scott hire is that it kills two birds with one stone. On one hand is makes Bryant happy until he finishes the last two seasons in the league. On the other, in two years the Lakers could look to potentially rebuild in free agency again, they can go after a more blockbuster hire.
Scott has a successful track record, but he hasn’t been able to find success with the past few teams he’s coached. Now teams are moving toward the trend of hiring unknowns — Derek Fisher, Brad Stevens, David Blatt — a more calculated risk with higher potential for sustained success.