Jeanie Buss has mostly stepped into the background since Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka took over basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Sure, she’ll give two cents when they’re asked for, but in terms of setting any kind of narrative, that’s been left to those directly involved with personnel decisions.
Expectations go a long way in setting narrative, though, so it’s worth noting not only what Buss wants to see from these Lakers, but why it’s important they fulfill that goal — outside of appeasing their boss, obviously.
Buss was asked about her expectations for this season on “Mason And Ireland” on ESPN, and added a little context as to why she has this specific goal for the Lakers.
“For me, it’s about being back into the playoffs that we have missed the last five seasons. You really do a disservice to your young players when they don’t have that playoff experience. That’s an investment in their career and their growth that they get the opportunity to play in the playoffs because as people describe it, it’s almost like a whole different season.
“The pressure, the scrutiny, the pace, everything. Our young core hasn’t experienced that and we need to get them there, we need to get them that experience.”
It’s great to hear that not only does Buss have a clear goal in mind for this season, but a practical reasoning behind it. She’s also one zillion percent correct.
A playoff setting is great because those reps will obviously help in developing a young core, but you also learn about said younger players in the process. There’s just no way to know how guys will respond to the different style of play seen in the playoffs, but the extra pressure and scrutiny that comes with it.
LeBron James’ arrival might offer an introduction to those things, but playoff basketball for the Lakers is a different animal altogether. LeBron on the Lakers in that situation is going to be basically insane. If the Lakers live up to Buss’ expectations, the Lakers will know a lot more about their young core in a few months.