Did Jerry Buss Consider Firing Paul Westhead in Real Life? Let’s check out. ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty’ examines the Los Angeles Lakers’ dominance on the court as well as their glamorous off-court lifestyle in the 1980s. The sports drama series, on the other hand, delves into the team’s high-stress behind-the-scenes milieu, where owner Jerry Buss and the team management face several problems.
Jerry Buss is forced to hand the club over to Assistant Coach Paul Westhead after the sad tragedy of recently hired Head Coach Jack McKinney. However, under Westhead’s leadership, the team struggles, and Buss is persuaded to replace the professor as basketball coach. Viewers must naturally ask if Buss’s suggestion that Westhead be fired is based on fact.
If you want to know the truth about the situation, here’s all we’ve learned so far!
Was Paul Westhead Considered for firing by Jerry Buss?
Paul Westhead coaches the LA Lakers as the interim Head Coach in the seventh episode of ‘Winning Time,’ titled ‘Invisible Man,’ while Jack McKinney recovers from his injuries. Despite a promising start to the season, the team’s form under Westhead is slipping, and their chances of making the play-offs are dwindling. Jerry West, worried, meets with Jerry Buss and Bill Sharman, the team’s general manager, to examine the problem. He mentions Westhead’s indecisiveness and the team’s lack of respect for him as a coach.
As a result, West proposes that Westhead be replaced by Elgin Baylor. Buss considers dismissing Westhead after the conversation. Buss, on the other hand, does not appear to have considered firing Westhead early in his first season as the LA Lakers’ head coach. The Lakers won 9 of their 13 games under McKinney during the 1979-80 NBA season. The Lakers struggled to recreate their early-season form when Westhead took over as coach.
With Westhead in control, the club lost 5 of their first 13 games, just one more than when McKinney was in charge. Furthermore, the LA Lakers won 12 of the 16 games in December 1979, when the programme depicts Buss considering replacing Westhead due to the team’s dismal performance.
As a result, it’s safe to conclude that Buss had no legitimate reason to be concerned about the team’s performance and consider terminating Westhead. Buss was so impressed with Westhead’s performance that he appointed him as Head Coach in May 1980. Under Westhead’s leadership, the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship in 1979-80, laying the groundwork for the “Showtime” era.
Buss did, however, fire Westhead due to poor results, but this occurred much later in Westhead’s tenure as Head Coach. In November 1981, early in his third season with the LA Lakers, Buss fired Westhead. Buss also revealed that, like the television show depicts, he discussed the problem with Jerry West and Bill Sharman before firing Westhead.
As a result, it’s possible that the show’s creators exploited the incident and structured their own version of it in order to add drama and suspense to the story. Finally, it appears that the show’s depiction of Buss considering firing Westhead just months after naming him temporary Head Coach is a work of fiction.