Jim Buss is just like every Lakers fan, frustrated by the 9-13 start, the lackluster defensive rotations, the lack of any team identity, the injuries and more.
Except, he is part of the reason the Lakers are where they are — he’s the defacto owner now. He gets part of the blame.
In a text to Sam Amick of USA Today he simply sounded frustrated, like a lot of Lakers fans (just less angry).
“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.”
Getting healthy certainly is the first step for the Lakers. As GM Mitch Kupchak has said, right now it is impossible to evaluate these Lakers because all the pieces aren’t there.
But the Lakers are a team without an identity, and if Buss wants to blame someone for that he can go find a mirror. The Lakers brought in two key new players in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. They chose not to make a move with Mike Brown over the summer, bringing him back with a brand new offense installed during training camp. Then despite injuries that never allowed him to get his new offense running right, management moved to fire Brown and bring in Mike D’Antoni and his radically different offense and philosophy. On the fly with the season underway and injuries already hitting the roster.
And you wonder why this team has no identity?
The Lakers will start to find that identity at some point once they start to get healthy and the team plays together. The problem is the hole they dug themselves with the start will come back to haunt them when they play a lot of road playoff games.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.