Byron Scott is back in the City of Angels. In the 1980s, Scott was a starting won three championships as a starting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. In July 2014, he was introduced as the new head coach of the Lakers.
Born on March 28, 1961, in Ogden, Utah, Scott attended Morningside High School in Inglewood, Calif., and then Arizona State University. He was a First Team All-Pac 10 in his senior year of college and set a school record by scoring 1,752 career points. The San Diego Clippers drafted him with the fourth overall pick of the 1983 draft but traded him to the Lakers that October.
Scott was a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team in the 1983-84 season and led the league with a 43.3 percent three-point percentage the following year. The Lakers won championships in 1985, 1987 and 1988. His time in Los Angeles ended when the Lakers released him in July 1993. He signed with the Indiana Pacers in December 1993 and stayed with them until the Vancouver Grizzlies chose him in the expansion draft in June 1995. The Grizzlies waived him in July 1996, and he signed with the Lakers two months later. His 1997 retirement from the NBA didn't mean the end of his playing career - he won a championship during his one season in Greece.
After two years as an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings, Scott was named head coach of the New Jersey Nets in 2000. The Nets won only 26 games in Scott's first season but were on the verge of unprecedented success. They won 52 games in 2001-02 and made the first trip to the NBA Finals in team history, losing to the Lakers. They won only 49 games in 2002-03 but advanced to the Finals again, this time losing to the San Antonio Spurs.
But even consecutive Finals appearances couldn't bring Scott job security. Nets management didn't give him a contract extension, and it was rumored that star guard Jason Kidd didn't support him. Kidd had criticized Scott's coaching decisions during the 2003 Finals and was reportedly unwilling to re-sign with the Nets during the summer if Scott remained as coach. He did re-sign but criticized Scott again after a 47-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in December. Scott was fired in January 2004, despite the Nets being two games above .500 at the time. He left New Jersey with 149 wins, the most of any coach in Nets history.
The New Orleans Hornets hired Scott as their head coach for the 2004-05 season. Once again, his first year was disappointing, with the Hornets winning only 18 games. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina forced the Hornets to play in four separate home arenas in 2005-06, but they improved to 38 wins. Following a 39-win season in 2006-07, Scott won Coach of the Year honors for leading the Hornets to a franchise record 56 victories and a Western Conference Semifinals appearance in 2007-08. Scott's job was thought to be in jeopardy after the Denver Nuggets eliminated the Hornets in the first round of the 2009 playoffs (they lost Game Four by 58 points), but he returned, only to be fired nine games into the 2009-10 season.
Is timing everything? It was in Scott's experience with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was hired as head coach in July 2010 - the same month free agent LeBron James departed. Scott won only 66 of his 230 games in Cleveland and was fired in April 2013. The Cavaliers ranked 26th in defensive efficiency in 2012-13 and won only two of their last 18 games that season.