Buss to blame for lakers failures


By Spencer Brown

Rarely do Los Angeles Lakers fans look forward to next season in early March.

With a record of 22-44, currently tied for last place in the Western Conference, they don’t have much of a choice.

Who knows why the Lakers are such an eyesore on the basketball court this year? It boils down to one reason and one reason only.

Jim Buss.

Buss is the executive vice president of player personnel for the Lakers. In short, all decisions begin and end with Buss. His influence is due to the late Dr. Jerry Buss, owner of the Lakers and Jim’s father.

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The younger Buss has been less than stellar as the man in charge. It cannot go unmentioned that there are a group of decision makers including general manager Mitch Kupchak. In the end, Buss has the final say.

With that being said, let’s start at the top. The coaching saga.

The hire of Mike Brown began with a bit of controversy. Brown was brought in without consulting resident superstar Kobe Bryant. It wasn’t necessary to ask Bryant’s opinion, but it would have been a nice gesture.

Brown was fired in 2012 after a 1-4 start to the season.

The seemingly impulsive fire was followed by rumors of Phil Jackson making a third return to the Lakers’ bench. The understanding was that the coaching position was Jackson’s job to accept or refuse. Then, in true controversial Buss fashion, he hired current coach Mike D’Antoni without notice.

D’Antoni is not defensive-minded, nor does he have much of a coaching resumé outside of Phoenix, where he had two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash. Nash is likely one of the reasons D’Antoni was hired, which addresses the next layer of Buss decisions. The roster.

Andrew Bynum was traded away with zero return. The original deal brought Dwight Howard to Los Angeles. Trading for Howard without the promise of a contract extension was a bit of a risk anyway, considering his fickle nature in addressing his situation in Orlando. In the end, he skipped town at the conclusion of the 2012-13 reason.

Some people cite D’Antoni as Howard’s reason for leaving, as his coaching style was not favorable. There are some who believe the aura of greatness has left L.A. Houston is a younger team on the rise was another thought. Regardless, within 12 months the Lakers lost Bynum and Howard.

Not to mention Pau Gasol is consistently shopped around the League. 

Moving from the men in the middle, or lack thereof, the point guard spot is rather interesting. Nash has spent the majority of the past two seasons in the training room collecting a check.

He recently said that he would not retire because he wants the money. Nash is scheduled to make $9.7 million next season.

His capable back-up, Steve Blake, was traded to the Golden State Warriors right before the trade deadline.

We must not forget Kobe Bryant. Potentially the greatest player of this era, he has been sidelined with multiple leg and foot injuries this season.

He’s appeared in a total of six games this season.

He also signed a two-year extension for $48.5 million.

To fill all of the holes in the roster, Buss and his contingent signed about as many marginal, role players as one NBA roster could fit.

The combination of the two produced the massacre fans see on a daily basis.

To Buss’ defense, he could not have predicted the multitude of injuries that hit his Lakers team over the past two seasons. It’s not a guarantee that they would be all that much better if completely healthy, possibly a playoff team.

Buss has also done a reasonably decent job of clearing cap space.

During a rare rebuilding period and based off his previous decision-making, it’s not a foregone conclusion that the money will be spent wisely.

Lakers fans may want to prepare themselves for a rough few years. Or buy a Clippers jersey.

Spencer is a senior in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected].