A little over a year ago, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss made sweeping changes to the team’s front office, casting out the regime of Mitch Kupchak and her brother, Jim Buss, in favor of elevating Magic Johnson to president of basketball operations and promptly moving to hire Rob Palinka as general manager.
The Lakers have been trending up since those changes, as the team has gone from bottom of the league in defensive efficiency to the upper half of the NBA. Additionally, the Lakers have already surpassed their win total from 2016-17.
But that improvement isn’t the only reason why Buss has more confidence in Johnson and Pelinka than she did in her prior front office duo. As she told Howard Beck of Bleacher Report on “The Full 48 with Howard Beck,” she is also pleased with how much more of a coherent and committed plan for the future that Pelinka and Johnson seem to have:
“I have complete faith in them because everything they do is thoughtful and thorough. What was uncomfortable for me previously, was, we were going through coaches every 18 months. When you have a coach that’s really defensive-minded and you’re building a roster for him, and then let him go, and now you bring in the most offensive coach, he’s going to want a completely different roster. You can’t have that every 18 months, changing coaches and going in all these different directions. Those were the kind of moves that never made sense to me, because I couldn’t get a straight answer. In this environment, I understand their thought process. I understand the work that they’re doing in looking in every corner and trying to figure out what makes sense for us.”
There are legitimate reasons for Buss to feel confident in her current front office leadership, but it’s also only natural for her to believe more in a pairing she hired than she did in a pairing she inherited that was at times non-communicative with her about their rationale for making certain decisions.
And with the Lakers trending upwards, she also probably should feel good about the changes she made. Jeanie is still correct to note that eventually the team will be judged on wins and losses again, but for now she can take some solace that the Lakers appear to be headed in the right direction once again.