Since Phil Jackson’s departure in 2011, the Lakers have employed five different head coaches. Six, if you count the gawd Bernie Bickerstaff’s interim tenure. Jeanie Buss wants that theme to change with Luke Walton now at the helm.
Buss went on a podcast with Forbes Money to discuss several topics, including her relationship with Magic Johnson, her new role with the organization and plenty more.
When Byron Scott was hired, one of the few potential benefits of his tenure was that the Lakers fan base would give him more of a chance because of his history with the franchise. Unfortunately, he wound up being actively awful for the young core, but at least there was a chance that he’d stick around for a little while if only he wasn’t so bad.
Hell, some fans still won’t blame him for how bad he was because of the rings he won in Los Angeles, but that’s neither here nor there.
Walton understanding the importance of public perception, his ability to relate to the kids on the team and his handling of the Buss family drama are all major reasons as to why he should be seen as a long-term solution as head coach. Here’s how Jeanie put it. (h/t: Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times)
“What was important to me was how he felt about our coach, Luke Walton,” Buss said during a podcast on Forbes Sports Money. “Luke Walton is, he is somebody that I believe can be our coach for the next 10 or 15 years, as long as we don’t kill him.”
“When I asked him one of my first questions that night at dinner: ‘What do you think about the team?’” Buss said on the podcast, “he said he would build the team around Luke Walton.”
“I saw from my experience with Phil Jackson, if you can build a foundation of players who know the system you want to play, the style you want to play, then you really have [something],” Buss said. “The Spurs have done it the best where they have a core group of players and they just kind of switch pieces as they need to. … I believe that if we build with Luke in mind that he’s somebody that can be around a long time.”
The bit about Jackson is pretty insightful. Everyone thinks of the NBA as a player’s league and, for the most part, they’re right. Still, in league where the amount that can be spent on players is capped, finding a good, stable coach is a pretty huge market inefficiency.
Here’s hoping the Lakers found theirs. Jeanie certainly seems to think they have.