4) If Jim Buss is going down, he’s going down on his own terms.
Whether you like the Russell pick (I do… a lot) or hate it (many inevitably will), one’s thing’s for certain: This was not the “safe” pick. That would have been Okafor. And after publicly (and if you ask Jeanie Buss, unnecessarily) putting himself on the clock to turn this franchise around or walk out the door, combined with the stakes attached to this pick, nobody would have blamed Buss if he erred on the side of “cover your arse.” Instead, he put his neck on the line. Make no mistake. Should Russell make a slow adjustment to the NBA (or worse, not adjust at all), this decision will hound Buss for as long as he remains a purple and gold shot caller. Clearly, he’s not afraid of such consequences, and there’s definitely something to admire about that.
(For that matter, Nance at 27 represents a reach in the eyes of many draftniks, who pegged the forward as a second round talent. Which isn’t to say the pick was necessarily misused. Nance actually checks off several boxes for the Lakers, most notably defense, athleticism and shooting, and if he pans out, all’s well that ends well. But there will be heads scratched with this call. Mitch had a pretty bad ass line when asked by the media about potentially reaching on Nance. We’ll see what happens, but either way, it’s another example of aggressive dice-rolling.)
All in all, ‘twas a fun, exciting and – in my opinion – productive night for the Lakers. Clearly, there’s work still to be done, but I think fans can reasonably exhale a bit as July 1 and free agency approaches for a new round of insanity.[divide]