Prior to the Los Angeles Lakers hiring of Byron Scott as head coach, Scott served as head coach of the New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers. During his time in New Orleans (2004-2009), Scott spent several years coaching arguably one of the best point guards in the NBA, Chris Paul.
Under Scott, Paul and the Hornets twice made it to the NBA playoffs, losing in the Conference Semifinals in 2008 and being knocked out in the first round in 2009.
Scott has just one full Lakers training camp and 14 games under his belt, but he’s also known Bryant for quite some time. Scott was Bryant’s rookie mentor when Kobe came into the league as a Laker in 1996. Scott says he does see plenty of similarities already between coaching Bryant and coaching Paul:
It’s a lot like coaching CP (Chris Paul). There’s a few things they have in common. They’re both competitive as hell. They want to compete in everything. They both want to be on the floor at all times. It’s a lot of similarities especially with those two guys. For me at least, they’ve been very easy to talk to and coach. We have a lot in common and have the same type of vision and I think that’s important.”
Of course, the basketball world was about as close as they could get to seeing what Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul would’ve looked like together in the backcourt, before the trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers was vetoed.
When the Lakers played the Clippers at the start of the season, Scott was asked if he had ever thought about those two playing together. With quite a smirk, Scott mumbled, “Mhhm. Sometimes, you just want to say, ‘Dammit David Stern.'”
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