Byron Scott expects Carlos Boozer 'to play better' defensively, which is insane

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Byron Scott expects Carlos Boozer 'to play better' defensively, which is insane
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  • Carlos Boozer
    Carlos Boozer
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Byron Scott
    Byron Scott
    American basketball player and coach

The Los Angeles Lakers are terrible at defense, and they’ll likely continue to be terrible at defense. The winless team is terrible at most things, but defense seems to be taking the particular cake in this regard. The team ranks last in defensive efficiency, and they’re almost 10 points worse than the 29th-ranked team (the Utah Jazz) per hundred possessions. In a league where the other 29 teams are generally a point or so apart (per 100), this is really saying something.

Carlos Boozer likes to say things. Since 2002 various Cavalier, Jazz, Bulls and now Laker games are rife with the power forward yelling when he grabs a rebound, yelling when he gets hit while shooting, or yelling when a teammate does something well. Boozer games aren’t exactly rife with sound defensive moves, though, as the forward is one of the worst defenders in the league – constantly refusing to rotate, always sidestepping penetrators at the rim as if it were his signature move.

At this point in Boozer’s career, it might be his signature move. Lakers coach Byron Scott wants him to stop utilizing his signature move. Good luck with that.

From the Los Angeles Daily News:

“He knows he can play better and I expect him to play better,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said Monday at the Lakers’ practice in El Segundo. “It starts on the defensive end. He has to do a better job against pick-and-roll defense and has to do a better job on guys who are trying to post him up.”

[…]

It sounds like Boozer understands that message.

“In the West, the guards are great every night,” Boozer said. “The bigs have to be there to help them.”

[…]

“I’m trying to get used to playing with different guys and running a different system,” Boozer said. “I’ll get used to it.”

It could be possible that Boozer is referring to the Lakers’ offensive system, one that saw him crank out eight turnovers last week in a game against Phoenix.

If he is referring to the Lakers’ defensive system, presuming there is one, then Carlos is making excuses. He’s just as bad defensively as he was in Chicago, where Boozer was routinely benched for the entire fourth quarter in favor of the defensive-minded Taj Gibson.

Here’s one transition example of Boozer’s early work with Los Angeles:

Now, the Lakers knew what they were getting into when they claimed Boozer off of the amnesty waiver pile last summer. The guy hasn’t played defense for years, and he’s not going to change his stripes some 13 years into his career. Carlos’ coach on the Bulls, Tom Thibodeau, did rightfully praise Boozer’s defensive rebounding as a needed element in Chicago’s standout defensive schemes (Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are slightly overrated as rebounders, as they have to chase all manner of opponents around), but that was about all he brought to that table. Boozer’s per-game rebounding totals and rebound percentages have fallen off dramatically in Los Angeles, though.

It should be noted, however, that the Lakers knew what they were getting into when they hired Byron Scott.

Scott’s teams in Cleveland were terrible defensively. Since the NBA expanded to 30 teams, Scott is the only coach to run a team into the bottom five in defensive efficiency for three straight seasons. All the bluster that Scott brought to the podium after his Los Angeles hire about defensive principles and anti-Mike D’Antoni maneuvers have proven to be empty promises thus far. D’Antoni at least got this team to 28th in defense last season – again, a good ten points per 100 possessions better than where the Lakers are currently at.

It should also be noted that the Lakers’ front office knew exactly what it was doing in committing to this roster, rife with awful defenders and (so far, at least) mostly lousy scorers working with Scott’s misguided basketball principles.

Hmm.

If the Lakers’ eventual lottery selection falls in the top five of next year’s draft, they get to keep it. If the Lakers win enough and the odds help them drop out of the top five, the selection goes to Phoenix.

The stealth tank, as led by Byron Scott and Carlos Boozer. Nice work, Mitch Kupchak.

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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!