The man behind the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma draft pick, many more
In recent years, The Los Angeles Lakers have done a serviceable job finding young players in the NBA Draft. Just last summer, the franchise managed to net three players that will definitely be part of the future in Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart.
Credit should be given to entire organization for good scouting and eventually making the right choices once draft day came. But it appears there is a singular figure among the Lakers brass orchestrating it all.
That man is Jesse Buss, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.
Beyond the 35 wins, a nine-game improvement from a year ago, the Lakers have shown they are adept at finding talent in the draft. That success predates to the Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak era before the 2017 promotion of Earvin “Magic” Johnson to team president and the hiring of general manager Rob Pelinka. The common thread is assistant general manager Jesse Buss, the youngest of the six Buss siblings (the primary owners of the Lakers franchise).
Buss called the draft his “specialty,” and said he took over primary duties of the scouting department was in 2013. While the Lakers didn’t have a first-round pick that summer, it didn’t take long for Buss to find his sea legs, per Pincus.
The following year, Buss found success with the drafting of Julius Randle via the seventh overall pick while convincing his brother Jim Buss to purchase the 46th pick from the Washington Wizards for $1.8 million to draft Jordan Clarkson.
It seems the Lakers made the right choice letting Buss take over the scouting department, as it has translated into good players for the Lakers. Although Los Angeles traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. last season, much of those draft picks are still on the team.
It will be interesting to see who Buss and the Lakers pick up with the late first-round pick they have this summer.