It flew a bit under the radar when it was first reported by James Edwards, but the Detroit Pistons are adding Ryan West to the organization as a scout.
It’s not often that hiring a scout would warrant significant examination, but West might be the exception. He spent 10 years in the Los Angeles Lakers organization eventually rising to the ranks of director of player personnel.
While the Lakers garner headlines for superstar moves like grabbing LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the organization quietly has some stellar player evaluation staff and a pretty damn good record at the top and bottom of the draft.
West is also the son of former Lakers executive Jerry West, perhaps the most celebrated executive in the sport, who helped build dynasties for the Lakers and Warriors, and Golden State and is attempting to do the same for the Clippers.
West and the Lakers reportedly mutually agreed to part ways after there was nowhere else for him to advance within the organization. It might seem odd that someone who grew dissatisfied with his career trajectory would take a step back into a scouting role, but there are reports his influence was quickly waning in the Rob Pelinka era, and that a change of scenery was needed. West regrouped as an unofficial adviser to his dad’s Clippers, and now sesems ready to start a new journey in Detroit.
It wouldn’t be surprising if West quickly advanced in Detroit for new GM Troy Weaver who himself has a reputation for excellent player evaluation skills.
The Lakers draft history is admirable especially later in the draft when it really pays to be able to identify rotation-caliber players.
In the past few years, the Lakers have added via the draft, as undrafted free agents or free agency the following young players:
- Moritz Wagner
- Svi Mykhailiuk
- Kyle Kuzma
- Josh Hart
- Alex Caruso
- Ivica Zubac
- Larry Nance Jr.
- Jordan Clarkson
The highest draft pick of that group was No. 25 Mo Wagner. They have also used high lottery picks on Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. Your milage may vary on those players, but none has flamed out and Ingram looks like he could be a big-time player.
The Pistons are desperate for talent and might (I stress might) be in a situation where they can trade down for additional draft capital in this year’s draft. Adding a person with the reputation and track record of West is a quality development and should excite a Pistons fan base still stinging from falling (yet again) in the NBA Draft Lottery.