NBA Player Directory
Scott player file
As Magic Johnson's backcourtmate with the Los Angeles Lakers, Byron Scott played an integral role on one of the most successful and exciting teams in NBA history. A fine shooter and strong finisher, Scott could fill the lane on the fast break or spot up for the three-point shot. A winner of the NBA three-point accuracy title, he earned three NBA championship rings while with the Lakers.
After 10 years in Los Angeles he joined the Indiana Pacers, and his veteran leadership and solid play off the bench helped transform the team into a title contender in the Eastern Conference. He then moved on to Vancouver, where his experience helped the expansion Grizzlies in their first NBA season, 1995-96. The following season he rejoined the Lakers, providing backcourt depth, leadership and a link to their glory years in the `80s.
Scott attended college at Arizona State and departed as the school's all-time leading scorer despite sitting out his junior year. He averaged 21.6 points as a senior and was taken by the San Diego Clippers with the fourth overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft. Before the start of his rookie season, however, the Clippers traded his draft rights to the Lakers in a deal that brought Norm Nixon to San Diego.
In his first year in the NBA, Scott started in 49 of his 74 appearances and averaged 10.6 points, earning a spot on the NBA All-Rookie Team. In 1984-85 he became a full-time starter, averaged 16.0 points, and led the NBA in three-point field goal percentage at .433. The Lakers reached the NBA Finals and defeated the Boston Celtics in six games. Scott also earned title rings in 1987 and 1988, leading the 1987-88 club in scoring with a career-high 21.7 points per game.
Although the Lakers returned to the NBA Finals twice during Scott's final five seasons with the club, they never regained the NBA crown. During those years Scott saw his offensive output fall from 19.6 points per game in 1988-89 to 13.7 in 1992-93.
In the 1993 offseason he left the Lakers to sign as a free agent with the Indiana Pacers. A key reserve for the club, he averaged in double figures in scoring off the bench in both 1993-94 and 1994-95, and his playoff experience helped carry the club to the Eastern Conference Finals both years.
Following the 1994-95 season, Scott was left unprotected in the NBA Expansion Draft and was picked up by the Vancouver Grizzlies. He appeared in 80 games as a reserve backcourtman for the expansion club in 1995-96 and contributed 10.2 ppg, maintaining his distinction of having averaged in double figures in scoring every year he's been in the NBA.
Scott was released by Vancouver on July 22, 1996 and signed on with his hometown Lakers. Though his scoring average dipped below double digits for the first time in his career, he provided veteran leadership and backcourt depth, as well as a reminder of the Lakers' winning tradition.
Scott appeared in 79 games for the Lakers, making eight starts during November, and while his scoring average dipped below double digits for the first time in his 14-year career, he provided veteran leadership and reliable backcourt depth. He also provided a living link to the Lakers' glorious recent past, when they were the NBA's Team of the Decade in the 1980s.
Scott averaged 6.7 points in 18.2 minutes. He led the team and ranked 22nd in the NBA in free throw percentage at .841 and ranked third on the team in three-point field goals made with 73, shooting .388 from behind the arc.
Scott became the 75th player in NBA history to record 15,000 career points when he reached that plateau in a game against Denver on March 17. He scored in double figures 19 times, getting a season-high 19 points in a 107-100 win over the Clippers on Nov. 15.
On Nov. 10 against Atlanta, he became the 37th player in NBA history to appear in 1,000 career regular-season games.
Scott played in eight of nine Laker postseason games, averaging 6.4 points in 16.8 minutes and nailing 17-of-19 free throw attempts (.895).
Scott played in 80 games for the expansion Vancouver Grizzlies, averaging 10.2 points in 23.7 minutes per game.
While he shot just .401 from the field, his .835 mark from the free throw line was the best on the team among players who saw significant playing time, and he sank 74 three-pointers and shot a respectable .335 from three-point range.
Scott scored a season-high 27 points against New Jersey on Feb. 2, part of a nine-game stretch from Jan. 29 to Feb. 19 in which he averaged 16.4 ppg and shot 50 percent from the field.
Scott was released by the Grizzlies on July 22, 1996.
In his 12th NBA season, Scott came off the bench in 79 of his 80 appearances. He was the Indiana Pacers' top reserve scorer in 42 contests and finished fifth on the club in scoring with 10.0 points per game. Ranked second on the club in three-point field goals attempted (203) and made (79), he also finished second in three-point field-goal percentage at .389. He hit for a season-high 21 points on three occasions, including two games in March.
The Pacers reached the playoffs after claiming the Central Division crown with a 50-32 record. In the opening round of the playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks, Scott led the Pacers' bench with an average of 7.7 points per game. He struggled against the New York Knicks in the next round, hitting only 7 of 24 field-goal attempts, but he came out smoking in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic, pouring in 18 points in Game 1 and then connecting on 9 of 9 free-throw attempts in Game 2 on the way to an 11-point performance. The Pacers eventually lost the series in seven games.
The 1995 postseason marked Scott's 12th consecutive appearance in the playoffs, the longest active streak in the league. After the events of the 1995 offseason, however, that streak seemed likely to end. The Pacers left Scott unprotected in the NBA Expansion Draft, and he was picked up by the Vancouver Grizzlies.
Despite his exploits on three Los Angeles Lakers championship teams, when Scott became an unrestricted free agent following the 1992-93 season, he had no takers. In fact, it was not until December 6 that he hooked up with the Indiana Pacers as a backup to Reggie Miller.
Nonetheless, Scott took full advantage of his second chance at an NBA career, averaging 10.4 points and 2.0 assists in 67 appearances. At times, his mere presence on the floor seemed to rub off on the Pacers. In fact, Indiana went 5-10 before his arrival and 42-25 with him on the roster.
The Pacers, who had never made it past the opening round in any NBA postseason, advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1994. In Game 1 of a first-round series against the Orlando Magic, Scott hit a three-pointer with two seconds remaining to bring Indiana from a two-point deficit to an 89-88 victory. In 16 postseason contests he notched 7.8 points per game.
Magic Johnson nearly made a comeback in 1992-93, but when he retired for good in the preseason the Lakers organization committed itself to youth and rebuilding. Scott became a victim of that youth movement, watching his minutes gradually slip away in favor of rookies Anthony Peeler and Doug Christie.
Scott made only 58 appearances in his 10th and final season in Los Angeles. He missed 24 games due to injury, including 18 straight in November and December with a sore right foot. When healthy, he averaged 13.7 points in 28.9 minutes per game, shooting a career-low .449 from the field. He scored a season-high 29 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on November 6 and recorded the 500th three-pointer of his career on March 5 versus the Philadelphia 76ers.
Scott made a resurgence in the postseason, as the Lakers nearly stunned the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 1993 NBA Playoffs. Behind Scott's 19.5 points per game in the first two contests, Los Angeles won twice in Phoenix to take the series lead, two games to none. But the Suns bounced back, winning the next three games to escape upset.
Magic Johnson's retirement announcement on November 7, 1991, sent shock waves throughout the world. It also placed a tremendous burden on Scott, James Worthy, and A. C. Green, who were left to salvage what they could of a once mighty Lakers tradition.
Coach Mike Dunleavy made Scott and Worthy team cocaptains. Scott went on to average 14.9 points, but his .458 field-goal percentage was the lowest in his nine NBA seasons. He did manage a team-high 54 three-pointers, including the 429th of his career on November 24 against the Milwaukee Bucks. That pushed him past Michael Cooper's franchise record of 428.
Scott also moved into seventh place on the Lakers' all-time scoring list when he passed Jamaal Wilkes (10,601 points) on December 20 in a game against the Detroit Pistons. He finished the season with 11,462 career points and 478 three-pointers.
The Lakers barely squeaked into the 1992 NBA Playoffs on their 43-39 record, then lost to the Portland Trail Blazers in a four-game first-round series-the team's earliest exit since 1981. Scott led the Lakers in scoring during the postseason at an 18.8 clip.
As the only Laker to start every game this season, Scott finished third on the team in scoring, with 14.5 points per game. Now in his eighth season, Scott nailed his 400th career three-pointer in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on February 25, becoming only the 11th player in NBA history to reach that mark. He also became the 10th Laker to score 10,000 career points when he reached the milestone on March 17 against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Lakers experienced a bit of a resurgence in the 1991 NBA Playoffs. They upset a powerful Portland Trail Blazers team in the Western Conference Finals, returning to the NBA Finals for the fourth time in five years. Los Angeles was no match for the Chicago Bulls, however, losing in five games to a team just beginning its own collection of NBA Championships.
Scott shot well in the playoffs, hitting 20 of 38 three-point attempts and averaging 13.2 points in 18 postseason games.
The retirement of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar following the 1988-89 season seemed to take some life out of the Lakers, who failed to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in four years. Scott in particular suffered without "the Big Fella"; his production dropped to 15.5 points per game on .470 shooting from the field.
Scott continued to knock down three-pointers, however, hitting 93 of 220 attempts and ranking fifth in the NBA with a .423 percentage. The seven-year veteran scored in double figures in 68 of his 77 appearances, with a season-high 33 points against the Charlotte Hornets on November 10. He also grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns on November 7.
The Lakers forged only two rounds into the 1990 NBA Playoffs before losing in five games to Phoenix in the Western Conference Semifinals. Scott ranked third on the team with 13.4 points per game in the postseason.
Although Scott's numbers dipped slightly from his 1987-88 career year, he had another outstanding campaign in 1988-89. The six-year veteran finished third on the Lakers in scoring, with 19.6 points per game, ranking behind Magic Johnson's 22.5 and James Worthy's 20.5. He led the team and ranked 10th in the NBA in three-point percentage (.399), hitting 77 of 193 attempts.
Scott scored a season-high 35 points twice: on February 19 against the Boston Celtics, and on March 30 against the San Antonio Spurs. He missed eight games during the year, two in December with a sprained ankle and six in January and February with a urological disorder.
Scott's memories of the 1988-89 season will forever be darkened by a disappointing postseason. On the afternoon before the NBA Finals were to begin, Scott suffered a torn left hamstring, forcing him to miss the entire series. His misery was compounded when Magic Johnson also sustained a torn left hamstring in Game 2 of the Finals, and the crippled Lakers were subsequently swept by the Detroit Pistons.
Scott had warmed up for the Finals with a splendid series against Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals. In four games against the Suns, he shot .580 from the field and averaged 24.8 points.
Scott had his finest NBA season in 1987-88. With a team-high 21.7 scoring average, he became only the sixth player in the past 30 years to lead the Lakers in scoring. That group also included Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson.
Scott's scoring average was a career high and ranked 12th in the NBA. He also established career bests in rebounding (4.1 rpg), assists (4.1 apg), steals (155), and minutes played (37.6 per game), and he shot .527 from the floor.
Ironically, although Scott led the Lakers in scoring, he watched from the stands as teammates Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar participated in the 1988 NBA All-Star Game. Scott had to settle for his second appearance in the Long Distance Shootout. After finishing last in 1987, he placed third in 1988 behind Larry Bird and Dale Ellis.
One week after the All-Star Game, Scott hit 15 of 19 field-goal attempts en route to 38 points against the Boston Celtics on February 14. He also had 37 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 29, and he scored 35 points twice-versus the Detroit Pistons on January 8 and against the Dallas Mavericks on March 12.
Scott ranked third on the Lakers in postseason scoring (19.6 ppg) as Los Angeles scrapped for its second consecutive NBA Championship. After sweeping the San Antonio Spurs in the first round, the Lakers needed seven games in each of the next three rounds to get by the Utah Jazz, Dallas, and finally Detroit. Scott hit 24 of 55 three-pointers (.436) in 24 postseason games.
Scott wore No. 4 on his uniform, and in his fourth NBA season he finished fourth in the league in both free-throw percentage (.892) and three-point field-goal percentage (.436). He made 69 of his last 75 free-throw attempts to edge Cazzie Russell by .00054 for the best single-season percentage in Lakers history. And Scott hit all three of his three-point attempts in the season finale against the Seattle SuperSonics to break his own single-season Lakers record for three-point percentage.
The veteran marksman started in all 82 games and averaged 17.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. He scored more than 30 points four times during the year, including a season-high 33 in a game against the Sacramento Kings on December 23. Scott also participated in the Long Distance Shootout at the NBA All-Star Weekend, finishing eighth.
After a crushing loss in the 1986 Western Conference Finals, the Lakers entered the 1987 NBA Playoffs on a mission. They lost only one game through the first three rounds before defeating the Boston Celtics in six games in the NBA Finals. Scott seemed to tire in the postseason. After hitting at a .436 clip from three-point range in the regular season, he shot only .206 (7-of-34) in the playoffs. And after averaging 19.0 points in the Lakers' first seven playoff games, he averaged 12.1 over the last 11 and scored in single digits in the final four games of the championship series.
Scott continued to be an effective perimeter threat on a team loaded with offensive weapons. He averaged 15.4 points in his third NBA season, shooting .513 from the floor and .784 from the free-throw line.
Scott struggled through a midseason shooting slump, posting a .477 field-goal percentage for December, January, and February. Coach Pat Riley even took him out of the starting lineup for 12 games in January and February to try to break the spell, and the move seemed to work. After returning as a starter on February 23, Scott scored in double figures in each of the next 15 games, his longest string of the season. He was on fire as the season wound to a close, averaging 21.3 points on .582 shooting from the field in the Lakers' final six games.
Los Angeles aimed at a return trip to the NBA Finals, but the Lakers' express derailed in the Western Conference Finals, in which the Houston Rockets bumped the defending champs in five games. Scott averaged 16.0 points in 14 postseason contests.
Before the three-pointer came into its own in the NBA, and before teams began to develop three-point shooting specialists, Scott snuck to the top of the leaderboard in 1984-85 even though he hit only 26 of 60 three-point attempts. He barely reached the minimum of 25 three-pointers required to qualify (a number bumped to 50 in 1990-91), and his .433 percentage barely edged out Larry Bird's .427. It was the league's best three-point percentage since Campy Russell's .439 in 1981-82.
Scott averaged 16.0 points for the season while shooting a career-high .539 from the field. He ranked fourth on the Lakers in scoring behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (22.0 ppg), Magic Johnson (18.3), and James Worthy (17.6). The second-year guard scored a season-high 30 points against the Kansas City Kings on April 5 and averaged 18.9 points over the season's final 31 games.
The Lakers lost only two games on their march to a rematch with the Boston Celtics in the 1985 NBA Finals. Scott led the Lakers in a five-game series win over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, shooting .654 from the field and averaging 23.4 points. Los Angeles then turned the table on the Celtics in the Finals, winning the series in six games.
When his playing days are over, Byron Scott will be remembered first and foremost as a Los Angeles Laker. For a few months in the summer of 1983, however, he was actually the property of the San Diego Clippers, who made him the first guard selected and the fourth pick overall in the 1983 NBA Draft.
As a senior at Arizona State in 1982-83, Scott had set a school record with 713 points for the season-an average of 21.6 per game. During his tenure with the Sun Devils he played with four others who were NBA-bound: Fat Lever, Alton Lister, Kurt Nimphius, and Sam Williams.
Scott never played a game for the Clippers. The day before the 1983 preseason schedule began, they traded his rights along with Swen Nater to the Lakers for Norm Nixon, Eddie Jordan, and two second-round draft choices. Scott's arrival provided the Lakers with a true off guard, instead of the double point guard combination they had been using with Nixon and Magic Johnson in the backcourt.
After a slow start in Los Angeles, Scott emerged as a starter for the Lakers and wound up as the No. 3 vote-getter on the NBA All-Rookie Team. He shot .364 in his first 16 games, then revved up to .509 after January 1 to finish at .484, with an average of 10.6 points per game. He scored a season-high 32 points against the Denver Nuggets on February 1.
The Lakers advanced all the way to the NBA Finals in 1984 before losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games. Scott suffered a sprained right knee during the last week of the regular season and struggled in the early rounds of the playoffs. He averaged 8.6 points in 20 postseason games.