The Los Angeles Lakers made a bold move when they jettisoned Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss mid-season, replacing them with Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson. Pelinka took over as the team’s new general manager while Johnson oversees the entire front office as the president of basketball operations. It doesn’t appear that they are done tinkering with things, either.
In a recent piece by Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, details of changes to both the scouting and analytics departments of the front office were detailed.
While more tinkering was certainly expected, it appears that Johnson is intent on putting his stamp on the organization. Pincus explained how the scouting department will be re-vamped:
Instead of operating with a single scouting unit, the Lakers will organize into four tiers: college, international, NBA and the NBA Development League (rechristened as the G-League as of the 2017-18 season).
The college scouting will remain primarily the same given the team’s recent track record with successful picks like Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Ivica Zubac.
In general, the Lakers’ scouting has been solid as they have consistently found talent in the draft, but dividing it into tiers does sound like an improvement. The analytics department will also get a makeover:
Additionally, the franchise will continue to beef up its analytics department, which hasn’t had a major role in personnel decisions to date.
The team recently parted ways with director of basketball analytics Yuju Lee.
“We don’t have to really change the way we have done the draft,” the source said. “In terms of everything else, I feel we have areas to improve, especially in free-agent acquisitions…we just have to be precise and efficient in every area.”
The Lakers have long been known as a team that is behind the times in the implementation of analytics, and it sounds like their moves in that area will be a step in the right direction. Johnson and Pelinka certainly have their work cut out for them, but hopefully, these changes and some smart decisions this summer can get the team moving in the right direction again.