Byron Scott will look you in the eye when he's talking to you. He'll actually answer your question, which is rare among athletes and coaches today. And he exudes optimism. Here are the highlights from Scott's media availability session on Monday:
On players listening to all the naysayers dooming the Cavs this year: "I hope so. I hope they are pissed off, to be honest with you. I know I would be. Back in my day when I played, if all the talk was about one player, with no disrespect to LeBron, he's a great player we all know that, but all of a sudden to be relegated to a team that can't possibly win 15 games? I coached a team that won 18 games (in New Jersey) and we didn't have near the talent that we have here right now. If I'm them, and I'm sitting in their seat, I would be a little ticked off about it."
On life without LeBron: "We're going forward. We're moving on. It's a new era. That means other guys have the opportunity to step up. There are some guys on this team who have been All-Stars, some guys on this team who haven't gotten the opportunity and that's what they should be looking forward to. They're going to have a golden opportunity to come out here and do something special."
On Miami's visit to the Q on Dec. 2: "I'm looking forward to it. That's just me. I'm just hoping the other guys are looking forward to it as well, but we're not worried about that right now."
On his message to Cavs fans: "The message to the fans is simple. Just be patient, be a little patient with us right now. I know the fans are used to this team winning 60-plus games a year. This is a totally different team than the one they've seen over the past couple seasons. Just be a little bit patient. But I can guarantee you they'll enjoy how hard this team plays and they'll enjoy the style of basketball we bring on the court."
On replacing LeBron's production: "I'm putting a lot of pressure on certain guys to kind of step up to the plate and be more of a leader, and I think we can make up for it, but it's going to take a collective group to do it. It's not going to take one player. I don't think we have one player who can make up for what LeBron brought to the game every single night. But I do think we have three or four guys who can."
On Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison going back to who they were: "I think he goes back to being Mo in Milwaukee, a great pick-and-roll guy. Antawn Jamsion goes back to playing Antawn Jamison basketball in a system that he is very familiar with. Those two guys, especially, they have opportunities to have big-time seasons and a guy like J.J. (Hickson) grew by leaps and bounds in the summer league and is showing improvement every single day. Those are three guys right there who I think can give us a big-time lift."
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