The Los Angeles Lakers have received a ton of criticism of late surrounding their acceptance, or at least the public’s perception of how much stock they put into the usage of analytics. In February, ESPN released an article that ranked each NBA franchise by how well they’ve infused advanced stats into their coaching philosophies as well as front office strategizing, and the Lakers found themselves at the bottom of the list alongside the Brooklyn Nets (38-44 in 2014-15) and New York Knicks (17-65).
The organization actually decided to expand the analytics department back in July following additional criticism after several key free agents were reportedly left with questions and concerns regarding the team’s dedication to analytics. On Thursday, Lakers part-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss told Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times that he bases all of his decisions on his analytics:
We’ve been using them for quite a long time. That’s basically [on] what I make all my decisions, is my own analytics.”
To the notion the Lakers are behind the times, Buss simply disagrees.
“It’s an unfair assessment,” he said. “We don’t announce what we do … if we are ahead of the game why would we tell people what we’re doing, so that they can catch up?”
It would be difficult to see a scenario where the team would be considered “ahead of the times” in terms of analytics given the past few seasons of futility, but it should at least be seen as a positive sign it finally appears the organization is at least on the right path at this point.
Even though the front office remains understandably cryptic when it comes to sharing specific details about the department, the addition of advanced scout Clay Moser was seen as a positive step. According to Bill Oram of the O.C. Register, Moser is seen as a “liason” between the front office and the analytics department.[divide]