Top Laker executive Jim Buss talked to USA TODAY Sports about LA's rough start to what was supposed to be a dream season, backs Mike D'Antoni's system.
For the first time since Mike D'Antoni was named the new head coach of the Lakers, Jim Buss has publicly commented on the state of the team. Things haven't changed much since that chaotic weekend. D'Antoni was supposed to be somewhat of a savior for this team, but he can't change the fact that Steve Nash (and now Pau Gasol) aren't healthy, and Los Angeles' defenses has consistently awful, which has the Lakers outside of the playoff picture after the first quarter of the season for the first time in a long time.
Predictably, Buss is upset with the way the Lakers have performed so far this season, and he told USA TODAY Sports that he thinks it is a combination of little things that is dooming the team right now.
"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."
Buss didn't have much else to say, but he did back Mike D'Antoni's system, which slightly decreases the chances that the Lakers will fire two head coaches named Mike during the same season.
"I think the system is fine when you have someone like Nash running it," Buss wrote. "I personally like the system, because - like Mike says - you can always tweak it to fit the players."
While Buss seems to remain hopeful about D'Antoni's fit with the Lakers, Steve Kerr, who was also interviewed by USA TODAY and had D'Antoni as his coach in Phoenix for a season, thinks Phil Jackson was the better choice for this team because of how it would have fit Pau Gasol.
"Phil made the most sense based on his own relationships with the team, but also because the Triangle really utilizes two bigs, and it allows those bigs to work in concert with each other," Kerr said by phone. "I felt like for this particular team, that the Triangle made more sense than Mike D'Antoni's system."
"If you think about it, Gasol has not been the same since Phil left, and Gasol is the perfect Triangle player. My feeling was that it doesn't matter what you run for Kobe. He's going to score his points. He'll adapt to any system. And so what you really have to do is figure who you really need to empower, and to me it's Gasol and Howard together. You don't even have to worry about Nash. He'll adapt to anything because he's so smart and such a great shooter. If you put him in the Triangle, he wouldn't have put up the big numbers that he put up in the past, but he would've adapted quickly and they could've played pick and roll out of that."
Kerr also said that he doesn't think that the Lakers have the personnel to effectively run D'Antoni's system. I'm not sure that we can finalize a judgement on D'Antoni's system just yet, but even with Nash out, I think we are getting closer and closer to think that this may not be the best fit for the Lakers given the way their roster is currently constructed.