NBA A-Z: Jim Buss unhappy with Lakers’ start
by By Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
Back when all was well with the Los Angeles Lakers, when scribes, coaches and analysts alike saw great things in their future and the other 29 teams lamented the way they stockpiled so much talent over the summer, Jim Buss was a happy man.
The Lakers’ lead executive and son of owner Jerry Buss sat courtside for a preseason debut against Golden State at the Save Mart Center in Fresno on Oct. 7, the excitement of seeing his team together for the first time tempered only by the fact that Dwight Howard wasn’t yet healthy enough to play. And before his team would go on to lose the first of eight straight preseason games en route to a 9-13 regular season that no one saw coming, he shared the sort of optimism and humor that are in short supply in Laker Land these days.
“I like this team with (reserve center) Robert Sacre on it,” Buss had joked at the time about his temporary starter.
But the laughing has long since stopped for the Lakers, this so-called super team that currently sits in 12th place in the Western Conference they were supposed to dominate. They’re 4-8 under Mike D’Antoni, the former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach who replaced the fired Mike Brown just five games in and will make his first trip back to Madison Square Garden tonight.
With the season marred by injuries to point guard Steve Nash (left leg), forward Pau Gasol (knees) and Howard (slow recovery from April back surgery), Buss’ mood — as one can only imagine — has long since changed.
“It’s very frustrating, because I think there are many little factors that are causing the issues that we’re having,” Buss wrote in a text message to USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “Nash, injuries, (a) new system. Like I said before, there are a lot of little ones, but the ones that figure to help the most would be Nash returning (and) Gasol returning and just playing together in a new system.”
Yet as the Lakers’ struggles have continued, with Gasol looking like a mismatched piece before he was … [For more on NBA A-Z: Jim Buss unhappy with Los Angeles Lakers' start, click here.]