Byron Scott

Guard, #4

 

Though certainly not overlooked, Scott's talent and value to the great Lakers Showtime teams of the 1980s is often overshadowed by the Hall of Fame careers of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy as well as the strong affection fans hold for Kurt Rambis and Michael Cooper.

But with an offense geared for going toward the basket, it was Scott's outside shooting that provided crucial balance and allowed the Lakers to keep defenses honest. It is no coincidence that some of Scott's best seasons coincided with Lakers championships.

When Scott led the league in three-point shooting percentage in 1984-85 (43%), the Lakers defeated the Celtics in the NBA Finals for the first time. And Scott's value is clear when you consider that he led the 1988 championship team — viewed by many the greatest Lakers team ever — in scoring, averaging 21.7 points a game. In fact, 1987-88 marked Scott's best season as he also averaged four assists and four rebounds a game.

Scott was acquired by the Lakers when they traded Norm Nixon to the San Diego Clippers, who selected Scott with the third pick in the 1983 NBA draft. Some thought it was risky to swap the reliable Nixon, a key cog on two Lakers championship teams, but Scott produced immediately, averaging more than 10 points a game. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie team after that season.

Scott proved to be remarkably consistent, averaging double figures in scoring in 10 of his 11 seasons with the Lakers. The one season with the Lakers that he did not score at least 10 points a game, 1996-97, was his last year in the league, and he had been brought back to the team to serve as a mentor to a young shooting guard named Kobe Bryant.

— Steve Lowery
Feb. 12, 2011