The Los Angeles Lakers have yet to win a game in the young 2014-15 NBA season, losing all four games to date as new head coach Byron Scott comes to terms with what limited talent he has at his disposal.
With three of said defeats coming by a deficit of 18 points or more (and the team having conceded at least 108 points in each game) the defensive side of the game, as was often the case during the franchise's dismal 27-55 season last time out, remains a major issue. and one that Scott has already identified.
Scott, as you would hope, is well aware of this deficiency and it is one of his new recruits who bore the brunt of the criticism in that regard this week as the former Showtime star dissected the reasons behind the Lakers' porous defense - the worst D in the entire NBA no less' albeit at this early stage.
“He knows he can play better and I expect him to play better.”
Carlos Boozer arrived in LA after spending the previous four years with the Chicago Bulls, and fans of the Windy City franchise may not find it surprising that the big man has caused concern for Scott with some early defensive lapses.
"He knows he can play better and I expect him to play better," Scott told the Los Angeles Daily News before delving deeper into where the 12-year veteran is going wrong.
"It starts on the defensive end. He has to do a better job against pick-and-role defense and has to do a better job on guys who are trying to post him up."
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Boozer has started all four of the Lakers' game this season but has been part of a roster which is giving up over 120 points per 100 possessions. He has made a name for himself in the league as a useful scorer and rebound specialist rather than a key defensive cog but Scott is clearly looking for the now 32-year-old to adapt and help the Lakers in a time of need.
Whether that can happen is another matter though, and with Boozer having failed to become a trusted defensive player under the tutelage of Tom Thibodeau, one of the best D-coaches in the league, Scott certainly has his work cut out.
All round concern
It isn't just Boozer who is causing concern however, with Scott demanding improvement from the rest of his roster, and the bigs in particular.
"I told our bigs they have to do a better job of being up...When they're back, which to me is a soft defense, guards are turning a corner and have a chance to attack our bigs."
The Lakers certainly have to do something to improve without the ball although with several injuries already and a less than stellar supporting cast besides Kobe Bryant there may be more testing times ahead.
Conceding less than 100 points ever other night would be a start though and Boozer, Scott, Kobe and co will go again against the Phoenix Suns in a bid to achieve that goal.
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