The Detroit Pistons boosted their front office on Saturday by hiring former Los Angeles Lakers director of player personnel Ryan West. He is the son of Lakers legend Jerry West and spent 10 years with the franchise, leaving in 2019 to spend one year with his father on the L.A. Clippers staff.
Ryan West is one of the best basketball minds in the NBA today, helping the Lakers select several young stars. With the team from 2009-19, L.A. spent most of his tenure in the lottery. Because of this, West was able to flex his abilities by drafting well almost every year without any significant failures.
His final NBA draft with the team, where they held just one pick in the second round, netted L.A. Talen Horton-Tucker. The Pistons have now hired West in a player evaluation role, something the team is in desperate need of, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Pistons finalized a deal to hire former Lakers executive Ryan West to a player evaluation role in the front office, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 29, 2020
One would be hard-pressed to find a team more in need of drafting help than the Pistons. Detroit — given their market making it difficult to attract star free agents — is a team that absolutely must excel with developing through the Draft, something they have failed to do.
The last time the Pistons drafted an NBA All-Star was 2012, when they selected two of them. With the No. 9 overall pick, they drafted Andre Drummond. He became an All-Star and consistent rebounding champion, but was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2020 as a salary dump.
That same year, Detroit drafted Khris Middleton with the 39th overall selection. Having Drummond and Middleton all this time could have actually led to success. Instead, the Pistons traded Middleton to the Milwaukee Bucks after his rookie year as a part of a package that netted them Brandon Jennings.
Since then, the Pistons have held three lottery picks, taking Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard in 2013, 2015, and 2017 respectively. Of course, Caldwell-Pope has filled a key role with the Lakers the past three seasons.
Lakers, Ryan West mutually parted ways after a ceiling had been reached
The Lakers and West parted in 2019 in a somewhat surprising move. With West being a high-level official in the front office, it was assumed he would continue to move up the chain, especially given the success he had in the draft.
However, he and the team both decided that he would not move forward, and West wound up joining the Clippers for one season before signing his current deal with the Pistons.
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