LOS ANGELES--The touch of irony was there for all to see.
Mike D'Antoni embraced the "Showtime" concept when he took the Los Angeles Lakers coaching job two years ago, saying he would love to employ the fun-and-run style that made them champions five times in the 1980s.
But Byron Scott, an actual member of three of those teams, went a different way at his introductory news conference Tuesday.
"We can't play that way. We don't have a Magic Johnson," said the new Lakers coach.
He wasn't kidding.
Despite the reality check of an aging roster recently filled with two discards from other teams, Tuesday was a feel-good day for the Lakers.
Scott was blunt and to the point but also somehow refreshing, a touch with yesteryear the franchise needed, even if it lasted only a short time.
Not long after his news conference was hijacked by supportive and light-hearted comments from Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes, Scott added a bit of reverence.
"The only thing I regret is that Dr. (Jerry) Buss isn't here today," he said. "He's somebody that showed a lot of love and confidence in me back in the day, and a guy that you could call any time and you could talk to him about anything. Like basketball, money, anything."
Scott, 53, said he would try to make his former teammates proud, as well as the Buss family.
And he wanted very little to do with pushing the pace on offense, saying he would run a hybrid of schemes, which in the recent past included mostly high screen-and-rolls.
There will also be a reliance on defense, Scott promised.
"The first thing that Magic taught me when I got in this league is that we win championships by defending every single night," Scott said. "Offense is going to come and go. You're going to miss shots, you're going to make shots. But the one thing you control every single night is your effort on the defensive end. So we have to obviously get that back in the plans."
It's a noble concept, especially for a team that allowed 109.2 points a game, 29th out of 30 NBA teams, last season.
Scott even threatened those who don't defend.
"They don't do it, I'll take them out of the game," he said. "The only thing that you can really control with players is their minutes. That gets their attention."
Barely touching on a team that finished 22 games out of a playoff spot last season, Scott looked ahead to the first day of training camp in the coming months.
He also didn't want to see smiling faces and locker-room fun after a loss: "It should hurt," he said.
The coaching search took almost three months -- Mike D'Antoni resigned April 30 and Scott officially was hired Monday.
He got the news of his hire while traveling in the Bahamas, a vacation he jokingly said he needed not because of an excruciatingly long wait but because of all the probing queries from fans.
"I'm a little arrogant when it comes to that because I thought I was the right decision, so the waiting didn't really bother me. The only thing that bothered me were the questions I would get asked every day from fans, and that didn't really bother me, it just takes a toll after a while," he said.
Scott will want a lot out of Kobe Bryant, who turns 36 in a few weeks and played only six games as the Lakers tumbled to 14th in the Western Conference with a 27-55 record.
Bryant and Scott intersected one season on the court, in 1996-97 -- Bryant's rookie year and Scott's last in a 14-year playing career.
"We've got still one of the best players in the league in Kobe Bryant. He's someone we'll have to lean on," Scott said.
Scott said he liked the feistiness of Jeremy Lin, acquired from Houston in a salary-dump trade, but maintained he wouldn't rush rookie Julius Randle into the starting lineup.
"I don't want to put a lot of expectations on a young fellow like that. I think the sky's the limit," Scott said. "To get him at seven was a steal. The kid was probably top three."
A veteran of so many Lakers-Boston battles, be it the grueling seven-game loss to the Celtics in the 1984 NBA Finals or the euphoric breaking of the Celtics curse a year later in a championship rematch, Scott found no reason to pump up a Clippers-Lakers rivalry.
"I don't think L.A. has gone to the Clippers," he said. "This is still a Lakers town. Period."
Even though the Clippers have won seven of the last eight games against the Lakers and pounded them by a record-setting 48 points in March?
"We have two teams now, one that has about 17 banners and one that doesn't have any yet, but the rivalry is getting pretty good," he said. "But this is still a Laker town."
It will be tempting to move the ball quickly to try to score. Even Johnson said in a quiet aside to Scott as they posed for pictures Tuesday, "Bring 'Showtime' back, baby."
But one of the first things General Manager Mitch Kupchak did at Tuesday's news conference was thank Scott for his patience the last several weeks. It's something Lakers fans might need to ascribe to as well next season.
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