Jim Buss has been publicly mum on the Los Angeles Lakers‘ current status, which is below .500.
The Lakers have struggled with injuries. Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill are all suffering various ailments.
On Thursday, Buss interviewed with ESPNLA 710 radio in Los Angeles and had nothing but positive things to say about the future of the Lakers.
Buss noted that he felt injuries have prevented the team from reaching their potential, “How can you not believe in this team? This team is built to win. It’s a very, very solid team. We haven’t seen them all together and play together for games.”
Yet, he noted that the Lakers must pull themselves out of a tough position. Buss told ESPNLA:
“It’s very difficult to talk this way because we’re five games under or six games under .500, and we’ve dug ourselves a hole. But at the same time, I feel that if we put it together, we can string seven or eight games in a row and dig ourselves out of this hole. If we play with the energy we’ve seen in the last two games, then I think you go into the playoffs with momentum.”
Buss insists that the reason the team decided to go with Mike D’Antoni instead of Phil Jackson was because of Steve Nash. Buss wanted to ensure that he found a coach who would fit with Nash because the point guard will be with the Lakers for three years. Buss revealed that this was the point that gave D’Antoni the edge over Jackson: “That was one of the main issues where we thought that D’Antoni was better than Phil. Well, not better, nobody’s better than Phil, but we felt that he fit the team the way we wanted to work it.”
Gasol was also a topic of discussion. Buss said that he loves Gasol and feels that Howard and Gasol will find a way to work together: “I believe if we can get him down low, he can coexist with Howard if they play enough games to where they can play off each other. I believe eventually he will move down there and D’Antoni will move him down there and his percentage will go back right to where it was.”