Kamenetzky Brothers's post on LA Lakers | Latest updates on Sulia
If Mitch Kupchak said one thing Tuesday that will determine the level of Jim Buss' success, it was this.
It started with his description of how Dr. Buss operated as an owner.
"He allowed the people that ran the day-to-day business to hire the people and keep the people as long as you felt they should be kept. He had a vision. He got involved in the big decisions. Whenever there was an issue, he would be involved in it. But he hired people, and he let them hire other people," Kupchak said.
"Dr. Buss always gave his opinion, but most of the time he would say, "That's how I feel, Mitch" or "That's how I feel, Jerry," but as you know I'll defer to you."
Regarding Jim, he described their working relationship this way.
"He's very strong in his opinions, yet after an hour or two or three, if I feel as strongly, he'll defer. And that's what his dad did."
Jim Buss, however, has been brought up in the organization as a personnel guy. That was his role while Dr. Buss was alive, and will be going forward. Except now he'll be the one signing the checks (whether metaphorically or literally), without the ultimate approval (and safety net) his father provided, even in a diminished role.
Thus far, it seems Jim Buss has better luck picking players than coaches, but all of that is beside the point. In sports, the track record of owners who make personnel decisions isn't very good. It's just not a great idea to sign the checks, and decide who gets them, too.
Nobody should expect Jim Buss to take a passive role in how the team is run, what players populate the roster, or what man stands on the sidelines. This is his family's business, and he cares deeply about the team.
But the less deferential he is to the experts on the payroll, the more likely the Lakers are to run into trouble down the road. This is true whether you think Jim Buss is good at his job, bad, or somewhere in between.
Hire excellent people, and let them do their jobs. It was a guiding principle of Jerry Buss, one Jim would be wise to follow.