The Los Angeles Lakers have been in the middle of the roughest stretch in franchise history over the last several seasons, something that owner Jeanie Buss has been up front about not being easy for her.
Things got so bad by last season that Buss fired her brother, Jim Buss, and then-Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, replacing the two with Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations, and Rob Pelinka as general manager, respectively.
The Lakers won’t make the playoffs this season, but they have been more competitive than most thought they’d be since making those changes. And during an appearance on ESPN L.A. Radio, Buss said she likes the way the Lakers’ fortunes are heading:
“I’d like to win some more games but I think we’re a little bit ahead of where we were at this time last year, maybe about the same. I do feel like we’re going in the right direction. You can see a path as to what we’re trying to build, that the roster makes sense, the pieces that they’ve put together to complement the kind of play that coach Luke Walton wants to play. And that’s what you need to have, is everybody on the same page so that you’re not drafting players that the coach doesn’t want to use. I see that, but of course, we’re all going to be judged by ours wins and losses.”
Buss is right that eventually the Lakers will be judged on results again, but this season isn’t that time.
The Lakers are a young team, and for young teams, showing growth and cohesiveness while they trend upward is enough. Los Angeles is demonstrating that type of progress this season, and Buss is right to be pleased with what she’s seen.
The Lakers still have a long way to go to get back towards the playoffs and their standard of contending for titles, but with a bit of growth from their young core and some luck in free agency, they appear to be heading on the right path.
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