A Single Stat to Blow Your Mind

Darius Soriano —  March 10, 2014

The Lakers are a bad team for a variety of reasons. They can be awful defensively. They can play at too fast a pace even when it plays into the hands of their opponent. They don’t make many adjustments to what their opponents are doing on both sides of the ball. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Ultimately, though, if you want to get to crux of why this team is bad, read that tweet at the top of the page again and understand that no team could be very good with that type of lineup inconsistency.

A lot of that number is related to injuries. Off the top of my head, I don’t believe a single Laker outside of Robert Sacre has been available to play in every game (even Wes Johnson had a stomach bug that kept him out earlier this year). Some of it is also related to Mike D’Antoni’s infatuation with shifting his lineups in search of workable groups. There have been more nights where I can count where, seemingly randomly, a player has been put into the starting lineup for a game or two only to find himself on the bench or not even playing the next week.

Whatever the reasons, however, the results are the same. The Lakers simply have not had the type of lineup consistency that leads to chemistry on both sides of the ball (but especially defensively) or allowed them to establish the type of rhythm that can help create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. In fact, it’s been just the opposite as players often seem thrown together and end up looking out of sorts for long stretches, struggling to figure out how to generate good looks and having little clue on how to make it so the same is true for the other team.

One hundred fifty two minutes. After last year’s injury woes and the resulting crazy lineups, I didn’t think this year would come close to being the same. Boy, was I wrong.

Darius Soriano

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  1. Great piece. I’ve been trying to tell my non-Laker basketball friends to understand this. You can be certain I’ll be forwarding this article!


  2. thanks Darius. Inking the players to longer term contracts and getting down our starting 5 and a set rotation will definitely lead to a better defence and overall play. MDA and Rambis can do this. With a PG like Exum or Smart, MDA can get the job done. A way better version of the current Phoenix Suns.


  3. No-D’Antoni has to stop constantly shifting lineups. The players complained about this practice. It leads to highly inconsistent play.


  4. @ jameskatt, “No-D’Antoni has to stop constantly shifting lineups. The players complained about this practice. It leads to highly inconsistent play.”

    Hmmm, sounds like a successful formula for tanking…w/ permission of the front office.


  5. Blew my mind. What Laker lineup was that Darius?

    Another note: How would you guys feel about getting L. Deng this offseason? He’s on $14/year this season. And turned down the bull’s $30 for 3 years. Or would that use too much of our precious ‘financial flexibility’?

    I can just imagine Kupchak making a move like that, and then going hard for K. Love at the deadline next year. (Who would we trade? Great question). Paired with Kobe and (hopefully) a decent kid from the draft. A contender? Potentially.

    It just seems like a typical Laker rebuild to me.

    Please tell me if you think I’m crazy.


  6. Here’s a wild guess.
    Wes J
    Swaggy P
    Marshall – ?…
    Or maybe Shawne Williams is in there?

    What’s interesting is that no one can even answer this off the top of their head.
    I agree- Dantoni’s ‘infatuation’ with searching for a lineup that will play his way undermines player confidence and fails to give the team a chance to grow/gel together.
    Also agree- the number of guys that start one game and get a DNP the next week is the most mind-blowing thing I’ve seen.

    I’ve gone on record ad nauseum re the misuse of Kaman and Hill.
    So this stat only confirms my view of Dantoni and his ‘recency bias.’

    The question remains, does FO see this as well, and how do they view it?

    Seems to me they just didn’t want to change coaches mid-season so quickly after the Mike Brown fiasco. It would have made the decision to hire Dantoni look as bad as it really was!
    So this coach had a much longer leash than he would have normally had otherwise.

    Let’s hope Stephen A. Smith is right.


  7. “Hmmm, sounds like a successful formula for tanking…w/ permission of the front office.”

    Exactly BCS.


  8. KenOak and BCS: no man, it’s aliens!


  9. I dont get why people are still complaining about Kaman and Hill’s playing time. I like both players too. But if they are not in the FO’s plans next season and we can all see we are going nowhere this season then it’s prudent we use the remainder of this season as a test experiment. We need that advantage going into a new season. In eight games since Westbrook came back, OKC’s defence has been putrid. That’s how players with different agendas can disrupt team D. Let’s just see this season out and pray we get a good pick and a settled roster. I believe in this team.


  10. Ok Chris
    Now your over the cap again and have older Kobe and Pau and 10 reserves. With MD this is a 35 win team, with the right coach maybe a slow down 45 win 8th seed.

    Kind of sounds like this years team that blew up with injuries. Hope there is more planning next year then that.


  11. Next year is going to be another whole lot of 1 year contracts so people need to get used to that idea for the short term. Even with the bunch of 1 year contracts that we have this season, injuries took away any ability this team could have of developing any chemistry, i doubt they be handling contracts no longer than 2 years to anyone unless we get a really really good draft pick and it would be a rookie contract anyways. I expect that once Nash’s contract get off the books next season those 9 mill be either saved for the right move or used to hand out a couple of cheap longer contracts . Welcome to the new CBA. And please enough with the PJ taking over the Lakers AINT GONNA HAPPEN, Dr Buss left a clear line of sucession, and one of the reported reasons thwy went with MDA with Dr Buss blessing i might add is that he wantedore than a head coaching job, they wpuld not allow it then and they wont allow it now. Despite PJ relationship with Jeanie he is an outsider and the Buss family aint going to give an outsider. Enough with the non sense, if he takes the Knicks job he will find out that James Dolan aint Dr Buss.


  12. You can’t remove Nash’s $9 next year only stretch it.


  13. Ko i said after next season since he almost certainly will try to play. Next season would not be not much better than this one unless whoever we draft becomes an inmediate game changer, we stay healthy and whatever scraps we rent for one year pan out. 2015 is were we really start making strides to really improve this team


  14. This single stat isn’t only because of injuries. Remember that in NY there were similar complaints about that…

    Now, I understand that with injuries and a new roster some tinkering with the lineup is needed. You can even take 30 or 40 games to find out your preferred lineup, but this number is just ridiculous. Doesn’t matter who the players are, this is not even 4 full games! So, if you can’t find the players to play your system, what about adjusting the system to the players available?

    And someone in the previous thread said that PJ didn’t adjust his system to the players available… Well, I beg to differ. The triangle is actually quite flexible in that and our 2nd unit in ’08, ’09 and ’10 used different sets and a different tempo from the starting lineup, so it’s not like he didn’t adjust. Great coaches do that, they extract the most out of their players’ skillset.

    Obviously, this only focus on the offensive side, because this issue on the defensive side is even more atrocious…


  15. Per video link on this site above and to the right (i.e. ESPN), PJ going to the Knickerbockers FO. Please warn Cedars Sinai that Robert will be coming in with a major aneurism followed by a massive heart attack.

    We will miss you Robert. May you have D’antoni-free dreams.


  16. I was the one talking about Phil not adjusting a great deal. His biggest adjustment was Shaq for Cartwright. Yeah, that’s an adjustment, but one almost any coach would make. Phil tinkered with the triangle, but he also only placed himself in systems where he had the right horses to begin with. When he returned to the Lakers he didn’t really develop any players, but Mitch traded for Pau and we took off.

    I am not trying to ‘badmouth’ Phil, but the ivory tower fans place him in – with his explicit permission – doesn’t leave much room to examine his shortcomings. Organizationally he is a genius at manipulating people, but constructing and running an organization he has far less experience than either Mitch or Jim Buss. In NY he won’t be doling out minutes and involved in ‘black and white’ decisions; everything will be a shade of grey.

    As I said previously, this is not a slam dunk, and that doesn’t even consider Dolan in the mix. Ask NY fans about him – lots of love there too.


  17. It will be interesting to see who Phil tries to pry away from other FOs to help him in NY. I’m sure there’s a few small market guys who would love a shot at making something happen in NY.

    Also, Phil is a loyal guy (or so he says), so perhaps he can make room for some of his disciples that are not coaching.

    Anyway, very interesting….


  18. Don’t see the value in having a consistent lineup if you don’t yet have the pieces you’re looking for. The Lakers have to figure out who’s worth keeping and who isn’t, and this year’s the perfect year to hold tryouts. And why change the offense to fit the personnel? Half of this year’s personnel may not even be good enough to stay in the league next year. Might as well stick to the offense and defense that you’ll be moving forward w/ once you get the right horses so that everyone currently on the team gets more time in the system.

    Was feeling horrible about likely losing our 2015 draft pick until I saw that there may be a bump up in the draft age limit. If that gets implemented after this yr’s draft, next year’s draft is gonna be pretty bad (unless a bunch of this year’s best freshman decide to stay an extra year).


  19. http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2014/03/11/sheridan-imagining-phil-jacksons-first-day-on-the-job/. I love The Knicks FO it has provide me with years of entertainment. Ohh PJ you will rue the day lol.


  20. Phil in NY: This is high risk due to the strong personality of Phil and the proclivity for Dolan to meddle (he shares this trait with Jim Buss). Very bad starting point of talent and cap situation for them, so the odds of success are low, given that NY’s definition of success is the same as we have in LA (or a least until the “fun” and “entertainment” discussions started).
    Craig W: Whatever Phil’s tower is made of, it is higher than anyone else’s in NBA history. Did he have shortcomings? Of course. However he is simply the best of all time. Phil simply maximized every situation and every player. Derek Fisher is a perfect example. There are many others. MJ, Shaq, and Kobe are 3 of the top 10 best ever and they all played their best ball (by far) for Phil. Think about Shaq in the 90’s. He was dominant. He did not win a ring. MJ in the late 80’s ditto. Kobe played for Del, Rudy, and the Mike tandem. He only won with Phil. How about Pau, Pippen, and many others. All played their best ball for Phil. How about Dennis Rodman and Ron Artest? The man is a legend and he is a maker of legends.
    MannyP: I had my reaction in 11/2012. I was in disbelief. After that date, nothing this FO does will ever surprise me. Nothing that has happened since indicates that I overreacted. The fact Phil is in NY is fine. I wish him well. I do think this will have some negative impact on us in that he will seek a good coach (as we will eventually), and he will seek FA. The combo of the NY location and Phil’s gravitas will make them a competitor in these endeavors.


  21. The knicks dont have any draft picks this year, they have a 1st rounder in 2015 and 2017 and no second rounder until 2018, Felton and Ryder with players options and lets not forget Stat gargantuan contract and a moron of an owner in Dolan, hahahaha good luck with that mess


  22. CN hardly wait for Phil’s next book.


  23. Phil can’t be any worse as an executive than Jordan, right? Well, for the sake of the Knicks, anyway, I sure hope not…


  24. From the ESPN Article: Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks are expected to finalize a deal that will give the legendary coach control of the club’s front office by the end of this week, according to a league source.
    “control of the club’s front office”
    So Mickey Arison has given control to Pat Riley
    James Dolan is about to give control to Phil Jackson
    Two powerful + stubborn NBA owners recognizing that others are more qualified than they are to run the team.
    In LA – Jim Buss has not given up control.


  25. The Phil doesn’t develop players stuff is such crap.

    What about young guys like Pippen and Grant? What about pieces like BJ, Longley, etc?

    How about Fish? Farmar? Sasha? Ariza?

    Phil has made of use of young guys all along, and won with no real big, with Shaq , with finesse of Pau. The triangle is a Trojan horse. He and Tex put all kinds of actions into it to fit his talent. It was a philosohy, not a syste,


  26. Robert: Arison’s day job was running Carnival Cruise lines. He is the owner of the Heat but never had an FO related role. Dolan runs a cable company, which owns the Nicks. He is not an owner. He is an executive in charge of a team. In addition, Dolan’s list of ineptitudes at the helm of the Nicks is as legendary as it is lengthy. These are two very different situations markedly different than what the Lakers are facing.

    Jim has made some HUGE mistakes – but he has also had his hand in some good decisions. Also, let’s be brutally hones about Jim’s shortfalls: they are not as voluminous as Dolan’s and, if you can put your love for all things PJ aside for a minute, they can be rationalized even if you would have done otherwise in his shoes. In addition, unlike Dolan and Arison, Jim (and his bros) were groomed by Dr Buss to take over the team after he retired or died. Owning an NBA team is a financial investment for Dolan and Arison, a hobby if you will, but for the Buss this is a family affair. Do not forget that Dr Buss’ dying wish was to have his team run by his kids. Like it or not, there’s a dying man’s wish and a family legacy there that we cannot simply ignore.

    Phil is joining an organization in much worse shape than the Lakers. That in itself says a lot about the state of the relationship between Phil and those in the Buss family not named Jeannie. This is a true shame. But, we do not know how much of it is Jim being a “stubborn” and not recognizing he needs “help” (although, frankly, there’s a valid question as to whether Phil would be much help in drafting and trading for talent) or Phil being “arrogant” and demanding too much control (again, we assume he can do the job but he has zero FO experience and that has some risk). We also do not know howw the other Buss siblings feel about Phil (in particular, the two young Buss’ who were very close to the Dr and now work under Jim). We also do not know how the siblings feel about the job Jim is doing.

    I honestly wish there was a way Phil (and Magic) could be involved with the Lakers, but I do not believe in my heart that either would take a ceremonial position with the FO and, sadly, there’s only so many decision making roles in any organization.


  27. barry_guapo,

    First of all, what defense? Do we have one of those?

    Second, a consistent lineup is the only way to see if the player’s are worth it or not. I suppose you also played ball, right? How important is it to know your teammate’s favorite spots on the floor? What about his tendencies when guarding someone one-on-one? Does he require immediate help if he’s beaten off the dribble to his right? What about his left? You can only acquire that with game time.

    Third, do you want to move forward with a system that hasn’t won anything? And don’t mention Miami, because they have clearly the best physical specimen ever and they don’t play MDA’s system. For starters, they play defense and keep scores down if needed.

    Craig W.,

    I really don’t care about Phil going to NY or not. I actually like Mitch Kupchak and unfortunately Jim is not going anywhere, so I focus on the other three variables that matter: coach, roster and other personnel (scouts, conditioning coaches, etc.). What I was saying is that even using mainly the triangle with the starting unit, he used variations of the triangle with other units that better suited the players on the floor. I’m not saying we should ditch Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system at all. I’m saying that tweaks should be made to better suit who’s on the floor.


  28. Exactly Tom!

    Another silly myth is that Phil does not make adjustments to fit his roster. He went from a perimeter oriented attack to a center heavy attack with Shaq. In 2009, with more athletes, Phil sped up the pace by having the team run with Lamar leading the break. They were still a half court team, but ran at every opportunity.

    In the Smush era, Phil introduced Kobe Ball, and IMO, maximized the talent on that team.

    Nobody knows if Phil will succeed in NY, but he has succeeded as a player, a CBA coach, and NBA coach on three different NBA teams.
    If this were Vegas, the odds of him succeeding in the front office would be very high based on history…..and at the opposite end of the betting line would be Jim Buss.

    If Phil does join the Knicks, it will be another tragic day under the Jim Buss regime.


  29. I have no problem with phil Jackson accepting the position with the new York Knicks.

    He needs to move on in his basketball life. he needs to get paid. he needs to stretch his basketball legs so to speak, once again. from a position from up top; if given total control; over time, he’s got the knowedge and clout to get the right coach who will acquire the right assistants and scouts and if needed will find the right general manager for the knicks.

    it will be good for phil Jackson, good for the knicks and good for nba basketball.

    not so good for the los angeles lakers, but we already knew that.


  30. Agreed LT. Jim Buss should be the owner, chairman and ultimate decision maker, but basketball operations should be headed by a basketball guy.. Just like his dad.

    People forget that when West was GM Sharman was President ( and was really the original architect of the Showtime teams) and that later it was West and Kupchak.

    Phil as prez and Kupchak as GM, with Jim filling the Dr. Buss role, is the right answer. There is no reason for Jim to be in operational role.


  31. Thanks for the stat Darius, this is just one more reason D’antoni should be gone at the end of the year. I’ve been so unimpressed by his coaching or lack thereof I can hardly watch my team limp through the season. The only thing he’s done right is made sure we get a high draft pick because he won’t play anyone who can actually help us win. I had fun writing an article about him Please Read This I bet you’ll laugh. http://www.wetheopinionated.com/dear-dantoni.html


  32. “I am not trying to ‘badmouth’ Phil, but the ivory tower fans place him in …”

    PJ took a over-achieving Lakers teams to three straight titles.

    Laker teams prior to PJs arrival had Shaq and Kobe plus arguably more supporting talent. They went nowhere. So, while I wouldn’t put PJ in an ivory tower, he belongs somewhere cushy ..

    ” … but he also only placed himself in systems where he had the right horses to begin with.”

    Smart move, I’d say. As opposed to putting oneself in a position to fail …


  33. Couple of points on Phil:

    1. Craig is slanting Phil’s record and leaving out some key facts: The 1999 Lakers were 23rd in DRTG. The 2000 Lakers, with basically the same key players, moved up to 1st–and won the title. The 2005 Lakers were 30th in DRTG. In 2006, adding Phil and Kwame, they were up to 15th. Craig also claims that Phil didn’t develop players, which is a shaky claim. Phil was never awesome with young guys IMO, but it not as if Farmar, Vujacic, Bynum, and Ariza all saw their careers take off post-Phil. Bynum had his best year under Brown, but a lot of that was health and Odom’s being gone. The 2008-11 teams all had good DRTGs, and of course Phil coached Chicago to 55 wins the year after Jordan took his sabbatical. Phil is not a magician, but he is not a guy who was just in the right place at the right time, either. IMO, apologists for the current FO need to own, acknowledge, and respect this, instead of spinning it.

    As to Phil taking over in NY, it may not work out that well, for a variety of reasons, as noted. But OTOH, Phil is pretty much the one guy who was available that is a big enough name that he might get Dolan to back off and chill out. A lot of poeple thought that Donal Sterling would mess up the Paul/Griffin Clippers. Hasn'[t happened.


  34. MannyP: I like to speak about what I want to happen. That is the half full side of my fandom. I would be even more pessimistic if I only talked about what I thought was going to happen. I want a different coach, but I think there is a very good chance they give MD one more year. I want Jim to yield control, but I think he will drive us into the ground for years to come. I want Kobe to come back at the top of his game but I am questioning that too. If the Lakers were a stock I would have sold on the day of the VETO. I probably would have foolishly bought back in when we traded for DH, but then I would have dumped the stock again and sold short the day we did not hire Phil. I use the stock example, for two reasons. One – I can’t sell – I am stuck with the Lakers for life. I will never ever change teams and I will never ever root for the Clippers in any way shape or form. Second reason I use the stock example is because we as fans are like shareholders. We all have vested interests in this team. I want the Lakers to be successful, just like shareholders want profits. I don’t care who is the Chairman or the GM or the Coach, as long as we win. If others have objectives where they or their family members have to be in charge and they put those objectives in front of the Lakers winning, then they do disservice to the fans, the Laker logo, and the Laker legacy. If this were a business Jim would be taken out be proxy fight. If this were czarist Russia there would be a revolution. Unfortunately it is neither – it is a monarchy at the start of the Middle Ages and we have years of famine to look forward to with King Jim Buss the Last on the throne. And yes “that we cannot simply ignore”.


  35. Kobe declared out for season. Hope this goes away next year. Not a good $40 million in 2014 for Kobe and. Nash.


  36. Robert

    If you had your stock at the time Dr. buss bought the team how much would you have after the TW deal? So much you would be laughing everyday!

    Perhaps that is what goes on with the Buss family. Maybe with Jim it’s about the mucho money and not the winning like it was for the dad.

    Thinking we care more since we don’t share the increased value just for watching.


  37. I think it is useless to demand Jim Buss give up control of the Lakers, especially if you also want him to pass that control out of the family. The Buss family will not make that decision. To keep harping on this subject is simply whinning, over and over.

    If this is that big a deal for you, then find another franchise you can root for that has an ownership you can support. On first blush this sounds overbearing, but ownerships will not change – look throughout NBA history and you will see repeatedly when the fans like something, but the ownership was committed to something else and see how things turned out.

    If you want to point out what you think the Lakers should do – fine – but stop with the ‘let’s change ownership’ crap.


  38. Obviously all the injuries made it difficult to put the same lineup out there very often, but it’s also because a few positions where D’Antoni needs certain skill and production have been lacking. He can be very patient with players who fit the profile of what he likes, but not with the ones who don’t. Changing one player may require a change of two, so he’s constantly fussing with his lineups. Then when you add D-leaguers and other new young talent, it stands to reason the coach is going to be experimenting and searching all season long. D’Antoni wants to win. He’s had everything working against him.

    On the other topic, what a step in the right direction that would be for the Knicks. Phil Jackson, great basketball mind, couldn’t hurt, considering where they are. Both times Phil came to the Lakers, it was an immediate turn for the better, but it could take some time in NY.


  39. Of course injuries played a factor in the lack of a steady rotation, but that doesn’t change the fact that he never played Kaman or Hill enough. When everyone was injured Kaman was ballin’ and a few games later was M.I.A. that’s not injury but philosophy.


  40. Has MDA always frantically juggled lineups or did he just go insane recently?


  41. R

    Google Knicks with his name and read those blogs



  42. I believe D’Antoni’s lineups were pretty consistent in Phoenix, at least the starters.


  43. As for the question of why Phil would go to the Knicks?

    $15 million a year!

    Asked and answered.


  44. We are some 20 games from the end of this year. Nothing about the Lakers will change until the year is over – Phil included. If he goes to NY, then we will hear screams for the next 20 games and the Lakers will move on.

    You may be anguished, but this isn’t a difficult scenario to predict. Dr. Jerry Buss specifically left Phil out of the loop for his own reasons. Now his children may be fighting about this, but it is not likely to change in the next 20 games. Get used to it and let’s talk about the players we would like to keep.

    These guys can get 2yr contracts, but not the remainder.


  45. @rfen in phx mdas lineups were very consistent during his tenure. The issue then was that they played a lot of mins because he didn’t trust rookies/crappy bench players (hence why jalen rose has an axe to grind w him). I fully understand that it’s been impossible for him to find a true worthy consistent starting lineup due to injuries this year and how that can be frustrating as a player, yet when you look up and down the lineup, aside from pau (who is the only player w the skills who could demand mins) and meeks who has been consistent, no one else on the roster has earned/deserves the right to say they should start/be getting 30 mins a night. Mda goes by feel some times too much w this lineup – not that it would make much difference anyway if he started same guys or not given the overall talent level of the club


  46. Get used to it and let’s talk about the players we would like to keep.

    You don’t get to decide what people talk about or how they root for the team, Craig. If Darius wants to put a moratorium on the anti-FO stuff or on Phil talk, that is his prerogative. Phil is, however, a relevant topic in any NBA discussion right now.

    As to who the Lakers keep, you can of course speculate if you want, but there is not much point in talking about that until they know who the draft pick is and what they decide to do in FA, and we also don’t know what kind of offers guys will get from other teams. Finally, given that every indicator is that the Lakers are pointing to 2015 and have already committed 24M to Kobe for that season, as a few people have noted, more one-year deals are likely.


  47. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith: Mike D’Antoni Will Be Fired After 2013-14 Season

    Steven A Smith for Laker MVP?


  48. Who to keep?
    Yes it does depend on whom we draft and whom we get in FA…
    It also depends a great deal on who is coaching!

    If Dantoni is retained…
    Wes J at the 3 as a backup player – not a starter – his shooting is too inconsistent…
    Kelly – but love to see Taj here or Deng (is he a 4?)

    That’s a lot like this year’s team except if Kobe and Nash are healthy…
    That’s 9 returning and that’s not likely…

    If another coach is coming…
    Not gonna name any names here…
    Then I’d ask Kupchak to talk to Hill and also maybe even Kaman
    to see if they will stick around for another year under a different coach.
    Then keep most or all of those named above…

    It’s my opinion that the roster they assembled for this year, if healthy,
    and if coached in a more traditional system which values rebounding,
    would have competed for a playoff spot.

    Add a FA or two to the current mix and we have a fighting chance!


  49. This thread: Somewhat amusing if you review how Phil was brought into the conversation. A couple guys commented on Phil – then many did, then both of the original commenters basically said – that we should not talk about Phil and need to get used to it.
    As usual – I believe anyone can talk about whatever they want as long as it is not offensive and belligerent about other posters.
    That said: A review of ESPN reveals that they think the relevant topics are Phil, MD, and Kobe. A review of the Lakers web site displays Jodie Meeks. And there you have it : )


  50. hey darius; since we had this 3 day layoff between games; am hoping you weigh in on the latest laker’s related phil Jackson fiasco; or not.

    wouldn’t altogether blame you if not. suffice to say, not a pretty picture so far.

    Go lakers


  51. David H,
    Maybe when it’s official, which from what I understand could be by end of the week.


  52. Robert: I see your point about Laker fans being like stockholders, but you assume the overwhelming majority of Laker fans agree wholeheartedly with your points. Not sure where the Laker Nation stands, but if this site is any indication, we are pretty fractured here and no one where near an overwhelming majority on either side.

    Having said that, I will say that those of us on the side of “lets wait and see how things turn out” may not always be on that side of the opinion. I would suggest the main difference between your point and view and mine is that I think its too premature to judge and you seem to be on the side that thinks this is the right time to judge. I would suggest that if after the next two off seasons we are at a point where most of us as fans cannot see a path to future championships, then I think most of us on the “wait and see” side would agree with you on the need for significant changes in the way the Lakers are run, including backing you up on asking for Dr Buss’ kids to step down from running the team. But… a lot can happen in two years. I frankly hope your assumptions are proven wrong as this would mean we would be in contention sooner than expected – but f you are right on your assumptions, we are in for a terrible decade.


  53. laker fans will suffer until jim buss figures it out. Who knows if the guy will ever see the light. I’m surprised at the number of Jim Bust fans here, but I guess they believe the light at the end of the tunnel is not a freight train headed right at them.

    Maybe they’re right, but there’s very little evidence to support that in the last few years. D’Antoni had a lot of bad luck, but he was a poor choice from the beginning.

    I can’t find really any good decision making skills in any of the coaches (hiring and firing) as well as cleaning out so many long time staff under the foolish and fake guise of “budget issues” when they sign a ridiculous contract with Time Warner.

    The smartest thing to do would have been to make a real apology to Phil (and his sister! It really boggles my mind you would screw over your sister who runs the business side!!!) give him a role and see what he would or would not do.

    Most people here who take an honest, open-minded approach, would say Phil is no saint. I seriously question why a guy would get engaged and then move across the country. Makes no sense to me, especially at his age.

    Does anyone really think Jim Dolan will listen? That guy is worse than Jim Buss!

    Most of the cheerleading about Jim Buss and their whining about Phil is childish at best, but it’s their opinion – as flawed as it is.

    The only thing they’ve got right is the Lakers are stuck with Jim and will suffer until he figures it out.


  54. darius: fair enough, thanks.

    on another note and wondering out loud; is there some kind of gag rule out there in lakerland whereby no one laker related media person can ask directly if and whenever jim buss will make an appearance on a radio talk show like he did with jim mason and john Ireland which seems like eons ago; just to talk, talk? obviously i’m baiting here but am sure inquiring minds would like to know. so far, has the appearance of an ostrich in the sand; with eyes wide shut.

    lakers beatdown tomorrow against the okc will be softly delivered; unlike the mean and hard beatdown the thunder administered to the rockets; was that only last night?

    Go lakers


  55. trianglefan: Agreed on much of your post. With regard to Phil going to NY after getting engaged: It is really not that far when compared with Montana. Also – when you are as rich as Phil and Jeanie – long term romances are much more practical for obvious reasons – upgraded airfare, top rate hotels, and private jets if needed are at their disposal. Flying to NY is probably easier than flying to Montana.
    And you are right. Dolan is worse.
    So see everyone – I said something positive about Jim.
    Jerry Jones is also worse, but that is another sport – I will see f I can come up with a third owner for that list.


  56. I’m not picking on Triangle Fan here, but what exactly does “figure it out” mean when it comes to Jim Buss?

    I’m not here to promote nor defend him. What I will say, however is that his record is mixed as an executive. I will also say that he can’t get blamed for coaching hires like Rudy T and the Mikes (hires that date back to 2004) and not get credit for any of the successes that have come in between (namely the slew games won, the regular season success, and the three trips to the
    Finals and 2 championships).

    All the good things are not the product of Dr. Buss and Mitch Kupchak while all the bad things are on Jim. I’d add that it’s been long reported that every major decision made by the front office was made via input by all three the Jerry/Jim/Mitch trio. All three went on the record on that multiple times. I see no reason to disregard, ignore, or twist those reports to fit a narrative. Some in the media will do that and that is a shame because I’d prefer a more, not less, informed fan base.

    In any event, I don’t know what “figure it out” means. If that means hire better coaches or take a step back from the daily operations or something else that is specific, that’s fine (though I’d like to deal in specifics). I agree with some of those points and have said so in the comments of this site and on twitter. But general statements that imply Jim is a dummy who has no clue what is going on seem more than a bit judgmental and are based (again, seemingly) on reports that aren’t entirely based on truth or snippets of the truth filtered through the narrative machine. Either way, I remain skeptical that the guy should be trashed the way he has been.

    And this is why I’d like to see how things play out over this summer and next summer at least. Now that Dr. Buss has passed that “decision triangle” has been reduced to two members. This puts greater emphasis on any one member’s influence (Jim AND Mitch) and means that future moves will be on them (and probably even more on Jim since he is the owner/president of ops). If this team isn’t able to start to add quality pieces that lead to a competitive team over the next couple of years that, more than anything else, will influence my mindset on this.


  57. David H,
    Dr. Buss used to do one interview a year — in the preseason. It was a “state of the Lakers” type of interview that he did with all the assembled media, took questions, and left it at that. I’m of the mind that Jim should take that route more than going on the radio or doing 1:1 interviews with the papers or online outlets to satiate the thirst of fans who want answers.

    I know fans feel that executives/owners answer to them. In a way, since they are the consumers, there is truth in that. But what executives really answer to is the bottom lines of wins and losses and the ability to build a contender. For a long time the Lakers did that quite well and some fans were still upset. Some fans will never be happy — that’s the nature of this business. Going on the radio to try and get those fans to be happy is a fools errand. What’s most important is trying to get the team back to a level of competitiveness where those fans who are still unhappy look as silly as they mostly always do to me. Ha.


  58. note to trianglefan: he’s picking on you. don’t take it personally, it’s a sign that you woke the sleeping, I mean darius, giant up.

    liking the java this am……

    Go lakers


  59. MannyP: Thanks for the response. Yes – multiple opinions are good and that’s what makes convo interesting. What all Laker fans want are championships. That we can agree on. I can even buy the wait and see to “some” extent. What choice do we have? I see two – wait and see quietly. Or complain and then wait and see (like I do). I’m not asking for the Buss family to sell the team or even step down from the top spots. Just the top spot in “Basketball Operations”. This is what most teams do. Now let me ask you a question. Do you actually want Jim to be the top “basketball” guy (or co-GM with Mitch) or are you just tolerating it – because it is what it is? Referencing the shareholder comment -Is this what is best for the Lakers? If you truly think Jim is the right guy then we do have a difference of opinion (which is OK). If not, then I will conclude that we are similar in our views and that you simply have way more patience than I do. PS: I will concede the later point in advance of your response : )


  60. Maybe Mickey Arison (sp??) lets Pat Riley do everything and he simply runs Carnival Cruises, but most owners have some input into their team’s operations. Jerry Jones, however, acts as his own General Manager. Jim Buss does not do this – to our current knowledge – Mitch Kupchak is the GM. Again, this is like most other professional sports organizations.

    It is because vocal fans want to pillory Jim Buss that they say he makes all the decisions – he doesn’t say that. I don’t know how thick Jim Buss’ hide is, but what all this ‘noise’ really does is minimize the job Mitch Kupchak has done over the years. That is a real shame because Mitch certainly deserves better, after successfully following Jerry West – a very difficult act to follow.

    Jerry Buss, Jerry West, and Phil Jackson are all very savy media people and the Jims also were magnetic personalities (for different reasons). Neither Mitch nor Jim are as magnetic and this hurts them in a city like Los Angeles. Again, this is too bad because they can be extremely competent, but will never get the credit from the fans.


  61. Darius. No offense taken. I appreciate your time and effort – not only in your response but in how you’ve managed the site. You’ve said before you would prefer to let comments stand and not go back and forth, so I’ll honor that. I tried to keep it short and maybe it was too short.


  62. Robert: For now, I’m Ok with Jim and Mitch. One of these guys was a protege to a legendary GM and the second was a protege to the best owner the NBA has ever seen. They are not without criticism or mistakes, but they are also not clueless morons (Mitch has 7 rings as part of the Laker FO, earning 4 after taking over JWest; and Jim has 5 rings as part of the FO, earning 2 since becoming VP in 2005). I guess I still need more time to evaluate them.

    In terms of the long-term view, I think I need to see what Jim and Mitch do this off-season with respect to players worth keeping around (and at what price), free agents and, yes, coaching (although the latter may very well depend on the formulation roster). It will also be helpful to see how well they communicate their short and long term goals to the fan base. I would then need to see how well these moves pan out next year, what adjustments they make, what trades they attempt during the season and then see how they react in the off-season that follows. In short: ask me in two years 🙂


  63. Darius,
    It’s my understanding that Jim officially took over the franchise as president a couple years ago. Prior to that, he deserves some credit while the Lakers were winning championships (i.e. drafting Bynum), but I think Jim is mostly being judged by what has transpired since he officially became the head honcho, which, IMO, is fair. As the boss, he should get most of the credit or blame.

    Despite the few positive moves Jim has made in the past couple years, everything is trumped by the decision to hire MDA over Phil. This is a mistake of epic proportions any way you slice it. As a fan, this is similar to Jim choosing Evan Turner over Lebron, while Lebron is holding the pen to sign the contract. The outcry by the fans is well deserved. Fair or not, fans will likely point to this decision as the source of the Laker’s struggles this season, as well as for years to come (unless Jim turns it around quick).


  64. Seeing as to how it looks like I’m the last one, just wanted to speak out as the lone voice on Dantoni’s side. I still have hope for his success w/ the Lakers if we’re able to get him the right pieces. I mean, imagine Kevin Love in his system?? With the players we’ve got, you see a lot of stickiness and one-on-one basketball, but there are moments when you see the great ball movement, and in those moments I can see how the system can work w/ the right set of players. Also, I like the positivity and connectedness with which he appears to manage the team. He’s too soft to manage a guy like Kobe, and has too specific a system to make “traditional bigs” like Howard and Gasol happy (since it isn’t an inside-out system), but quite a few players are seeing career years under him this year. The obvious weakness w/ Dantoni is defense, but at least it’s clear and you can work to support that (by bringing in asst coaches that can implement strong defensive schemes). As far as players, Buss and Kupchak almost have to err on the side of bringing in players with stronger defensive reputations; Dantoni def won’t make you a better defensive player than you are, but he will do that on the offensive end.

    Anyway, I still think it’s a little early to say he can’t lead the Lakers to winning seasons in the not-too-distant future. Last year was way too dramatic w/ the mix of superstars, and this year was built on one year contracts and searching for diamonds in the rough. I’m gonna wait until next year to decide whether or not to love him or hate him.


  65. Darius: First off – love hearing your opinions on these type of things. And my response is also just an opinion. I concur that IF you are someone who blames Jim for Rudy T, then you need to give him credit for things like drafting Andrew Bynum. When discussing Jim, I do not go that far back in either case. The date when Jim took over is debatable. My own date is that Jim took over as he “top” guy in 2012 so this is his third year. No Jerry Buss (RIP) was not gone yet, but that is the point, it can’t go back farther. I think it is 2012 – I can see where someone would use a later date, but not an earlier date. He was not in charge prior to 2012. He was there and involved, but not in charge. There is a big difference. Rambis and Shaw were on the bench during many titles, but you know what – they both have zero rings as a head coach. Jim has zero as a top owner. So your point is good if people drag up Rudy T, but on my ledger – that was on Jerry’s watch. So the review needs to be on the last three years (my time period). Like I said – I can buy a shorter period perhaps, but a longer one is a tough sell, unless we think Shaw and Rambis have more total rings than Pop does : ) So a review of the decisions of the past 3 years is not good, as all of the major ones ended up bad in the long run (VETO, DH, Nash, two coaching decisions). Those 5 decisions (KB contract being #6 and pending) are the big bets and decisions of the past 3 years. Bynum, Rudy T, etc. that is the prior administration of which yes – Jim was a supporting actor. I am not sure what he is now – Director or Producer, but I do know he does not have an Oscar in those categories : )


  66. Phil? There is no evidence, no history that we can cite that suggests Jackson can be an first rate NBA executive. He could be; but he doesn’t have non-coaching management experience of any kind. He is certainly intelligent enough to get good, capable people around him and build a solid front office, but the Knicks’ dearth of picks and cap space for years to come suggest this is a poor opportunity for a guy pushing 70 with bad wheels to effect the team’s fortunes. As a Laker fan I am encouraged by this news. Time for him to ride off into the sunset and enjoy his new payday! (Great coach, marginal human being.)

    Personally, I am excited by the prospect of a high pick, the stretch provo on Nash, lots of cap space for smart moves and so on. Jim Buss and Mitch have already shown the kind of opportunism and creativity necessary to rebuild the team.


  67. Craig: Why is Mitch being dragged into this? I have always made it clear that Mitch is good (not as good as Jerry West who was the best ever – but good). He should stay. In fact he should be in charge of basketball (fully). Sorry for the unecessary post.


  68. As I have said a few times, I think both Darius’ position and Robert’s have some merit.

    I think it reasonable to say that we should give the Buss FO the BOTD and some more time before Dolanizing Jim, due mostly to The Veto. It is reasonable to point out that Jim has been involved with the Lakers for a long time and learned under his dad, Kupchak, and West.

    I think it is also reasonable to point out that nothing has really worked for the Lakers since Buss took over from his dad, and that when Kobe suits up again, he will be 36 years old, will have played 6 games in 18 months, and will be the highest-paid player in the NBA. And, I think it is reasonable to point out that Jim Buss has never played or coached at any level, that he did not get his position through a competitive job search, and that he does not have a college degree of any kind.


  69. Barry – re-read your own post and then realize whays wrong with your position

    Dantoni would be great with kevin lova aka I havent brought a team to the playoffs – but not with guys like howard/gasol who have been to the finals …and we are going to get better how?


  70. Again, this is too bad because they can be extremely competent, but will never get the credit from the fans.

    Mitch takes some criticism, but “Ninja Mitch” “In Mitch we Trust” are memes for many people in the fan base.


  71. Now that’s how you regulate a post Darius!! nice! hitting em with the “fitting the narrative argument. So brilliant, so true.

    I’d like to breakdown Jim buss quickly to add to that. Had the cp3 saga never happened, the CLEAR goal was to unite cp3 and dwight howard. Starting there, we can all safely say Jim Buss’s legacy would be safe for about 5 years if him and mitch were able to do that. Had that happened, I doubt Phil Jackson wouldn’t have wanted to coach a team with cp3,kobe and dwight. The league really really set the Lakers back with that because it was clearly the Lakers direction. Now, SINCE, then Jim buss has done nothing to endear himself but you can’t necessarily just put it all on him. Except you really can. Mike O’Antoni might have been a good fit and a great candidate to restore showtime if it really was Dr. Buss’ last wish, but do that after Kobe is retired, why would you want kobe in that system when he has won 5 rings in a half court system? Why would you bring in Kaman and keep Hill if you are not going to play them. There are too many signs of discord and a lack of direction from the front office. I absolutely believe Phil Jackson is playing the leverage card against Jim buss and basically telling him how is it that NY and Dolan, who is arguably worse then Jim can be up for this but you can’t allow me to come into the front office and run the team? If they were so interested in keeping dwight, instead of putting banners up all over town, why not bring in the coach he wanted and kobe loved, that everyone respects, even if it is just like a Pat riley role? Kobe was right to say they are not showing a direction, they are not showing unity in the front office and the only thing it can be is family bickering. This is also a problem, running a franchise it not just about players and scouts, the front office matters.