COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Lakers lost a game that they by all accounts should have by falling to the New York Knicks on Thursday night, 116-107, but it's the way lost and the way they've consistently underperformed that is the biggest concern in Hollywood.
At 9-14, the Lakers are a broken team. Turnovers, poor transition defense and uninspired play continue to plague the purple and gold and make them the talk of the NBA for all the wrong reasons. To see where these problems started, the questionable and highly-criticized recent history of Lakers' team president Jim Buss deserves to be revisited.
The 2012-13 Lakers got off to a 1-4 start and fired second-year head coach Mike Brown. The move was a knee-jerk reaction as the team hadn't had any time to build continuity with several new pieces in place. But the firing itself was forgivable. After all, this was Los Angeles, and the Lakers always have a small window to win a title with aging stars and high expectations.
What happened next was beyond baffling. The fan base and sports world were led to believe that the greatest coach in NBA history, Phil Jackson, was a frontrunner for the vacancy and multiple reports confirmed the two sides had dialogue. This wasn't speculation, general manager Mitch Kupchak spoke on the matter himself. Kobe Bryant didn't mince words when he said he would love the opportunity to join forces with the Zen Master again.
But the Lakers directed by Buss made a decision that appeared to be as much about egos as it was X's and O's. It's no secret that there was a rift between Jackson and the Lakers' front office that lingered after the Zen Master's departure, but to let it get in the way of hiring the best coach for this team was inexcusable.
It happened though, and now the sports world is seeing the effects of Buss' failure to check his attitude. He separated from Jackson and the triangle offense when he hired Brown, effectively admitted he made the wrong hire by firing him then failed to rectify it by hiring the wrong coach again in Mike D'Antoni.
About D'Antoni -- his system worked brilliantly with a younger Steve Nash in his heyday with the Phoenix Suns. But Nash is now 38 years old and well past his prime. How could anyone, especially anyone with alleged basketball knowledge, expect these pieces to fit?
It was ego, bravado and everything else in between. The unfortunate thing for Lakers' fans is that the owner's son isn't going anywhere.
Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He writes regularly for SB Nation and Examiner.com. He is also the Editor of Sports Out West.
You can follow him on Twitter @MIkeJonesTweets.
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