The Los Angeles Lakers have been among the cream of the crop when it comes to selecting players in the NBA Draft over the past six seasons.
Multiple late-first to early-second round gems have been found by the Lakers, and they are yet to pick anyone in the lottery that could even be considered a bust. A lot of this success had to do with the now former director of player personnel, Ryan West.
West joined the Lakers in 2009 and was given a large role after the death of Dr. Jerry Buss. West was credited with the selections of D’Angelo Russell (2015) and Jordan Clarkson (2014) as well as many others since. However, it was reported that he is leaving the Lakers, a huge blow to the team heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
West’s departure from Los Angeles reportedly came from a mutual decision between him and the Lakers, arguing that his ceiling with them had been reached, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
Ryan West and the team decided to part ways in the last few days. His contract was up & they mutually agreed he’d reached a ceiling w/ the team in the role he’d been in, league sources told ESPN. https://t.co/vEuCRSfCT3
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 28, 2019
The news of his departure came as a shock to many around the league in large part due to the success he had with the Lakers during his 10-year tenure, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
After 10 years in the Lakers front office, Director of Player Personnel Ryan West is leaving the organization, league sources tell ESPN. West has been well-regarded league-wide for his role in many of the Lakers draft successes of the past decade.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 27, 2019
Luckily, the Lakers scouting and development departments are some of the league’s best. They’ll still be spearheaded analytically by Jesse and Joey Buss as well as director of basketball research and analytics Nick Mazella.
The loss of West is obviously huge, but those three should give fans confidence for a quick recovery, especially when the hope is that the Lakers won’t be picking in the lottery any time soon.
West’s ceiling with the team had likely been reached as the likelihood of him ending up as the team’s general manager or president of basketball operations was extremely low — especially with the renewed confidence in Rob Pelinka. Wherever West ends up, it’s probable he’ll bring draft success to them as well.