The NBA Draft is slowly approaching, which is key considering it has been crucial for the Los Angeles Lakers in recent years. At the forefront of the franchise’s draft success has been assistant general manager and director of scouting, Jesse Buss.
Jesse is the youngest of of the six Buss children, but has already carved out a role and reputation in the franchise. The draft has been where Buss has shined and the Lakers’ ability to find great contributors late in the draft has really sped up the team’s development.
That isn’t by accident as Buss revealed to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report that he drew inspiration in seeing the success that the San Antonio Spurs accomplished with late first-round or second-round picks:
“I had seen other franchises such as the San Antonio Spurs. They were bringing in guys at the end of the first round, and they were still competing and contending. Maybe they didn’t play in their first or second year but eventually developing into solid role players.”
Prior to these last couple of years the Lakers had been trading away the majority of their first-round picks for already established players who could make an immediate impact as the franchise was in win-now mode. But Jesse saw that you could do both, and the Spurs were the perfect example of that.
The two big names that come to mind are Manu Ginobili (57th overall in 1999) and Tony Parker (28th in 2001), but as Buss pointed out, solid role players like Tiago Splitter, George Hill, and Cory Joseph were later picks as are a pair of the team’s starters this season in Dejounte Murray and Kyle Anderson.
The Lakers are looking to replicate that late success and Buss has been great with the likes of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., not to mention Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart who were both drafted late last year.
The workouts for this year’s draft have already begun and with the 25th and 46th picks in tow, Buss will undoubtedly be hard at work looking for more success.
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