The NBA playoffs band continues to play on without the Los Angeles Lakers joining in on the music, and more than a week after their ouster from the Western Conference semifinals, the loss still feels inharmonious to Lakers vice president of player personnel Jim Buss.
“Me personally, I’m never happy unless we win our last game in the playoffs," Buss said in an interview on the "Mason & Ireland Show" on 710 ESPN Radio on Thursday. "I’m very disappointed in the season. I thought we were a better team than this, but you can look at it as this was the first year these guys have played together with this coach.
"There’s a lot of things you can look at and build for the future and say they haven’t had the time to jell like other teams. You watch San Antonio, they can play with their eyes closed because they know exactly where everybody is and what they’re doing and what their quirks are. You see a team that sticks together like that, and we didn’t have that."
The Spurs currently hold a 2-0 lead in the conference finals over the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team that bounced the Lakers from the playoffs.
Here at the Land O' Lakers blog, we've been doling out grades for individual players on the team, but Buss abstained from grading the season as a whole.
"As far as a grade, I really couldn’t put a grade on it," Buss said. "I’m just disappointed. A couple bad passes here and there, I think we didn’t realize how fast they can score on a turnover, and it really put us back on our heels.”
Buss also ran through a variety of other topics surrounding the team during the interview:
On Mike Brown:
"I think he did a fantastic job. ... I want to sit down for a couple hours and go through (if) his influence showed up on the floor, which I think it did. I think it was just unfortunate we lost that series, otherwise we’d still be in it and we’d all think that everything is fantastic."
On the NBA draft:
"Me personally I haven’t seen anything that I would go after to move
up in the draft. ... I haven’t seen anything except for the No. 1 pick,
and of course [the New Orleans Hornets are] not going to give that up."
On Andrew Bynum:
"I think it’s pretty obvious how I feel about Andrew Bynum. He’s an incredible All-Star center, and you can build the future around him. ...
"I keep referring to Phil [Jackson]. Phil said, 'Let the kid grow up.' He’s still young at heart. I don’t know what else to say about him."
On his planned dinner with Bynum:
"I want to get to know the kid off the court, not basketball."
On his father, Lakers owner Jerry Buss:
"He's still on track. He's doing great. Our conversations are longer and sharper. I feel very confident that he’ll probably start going to the games next season."
On the playoffs:
"I do care who wins. I don’t want Boston to win, that’s for sure."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.