Hey, Jim Buss haters…
According to Ramona Shelburne, the late Dr. Jerry Buss told his daughter, Jeanie, that it was his call to hire Mike D’Antoni instead of Phil Jackson last year:
[pullquote]Later on, the elder Buss explained to his daughter that the final decision on the hire had been his, and it was not personal towards Jackson. He simply saw the NBA heading in a direction that seemed to fit D’Antoni’s uptempo style.[/pullquote]
While this isn’t news to some Laker fans, it will be to others, who have wrongly put the blame of hiring D’Antoni on Jim Buss.
Jerry always wanted to get back to the Showtime style of basketball that Magic Johnson‘s Lakers were so good at during the 80s. Hiring D’Antoni to coach Steve Nash and Dwight Howard seemed like a perfect fit.
You see, the front office looked at Dwight’s days in Orlando and came to one conclusion: this guy is best in the pick-and-roll. The stats backed them up, yet Howard didn’t want to know:
[pullquote]The Lakers had studied his production in pick-and-roll sets in Orlando carefully — before hiring D’Antoni — and concluded that he had been an excellent player out of those sets with the Magic. But almost from the start, he seemed uninterested in and uninspired by the offense.[/pullquote]
This is just further proof that fans need to give Jim Buss a break: not only was the hiring not his choice – it was a decision made by his legendary father – but the Lakers knew the best way to utilize Dwight Howard’s skills. He just refused to listen.