The Los Angeles Lakers made the promotion of Ryan West to director of player personnel official, along with a few additional shifts in their front office in a press release. Jesse Buss has been named the assistant general manager/director of scouting, and Clay Moser to assistant coach/director of basketball strategy. Moser is expected to serve as a bridge between the Lakers' analytics department and the coaching staff.
West and Buss both pushed to draft Jordan Clarkson last summer, and his success has been a high point for the franchise after acquiring the talented guard by sending cash considerations late in the second round to the Washington Wizards.
The Lakers are making a clear effort to address concerns surrounding their basketball operations team, emphasizing their progressions behind the scenes. The team also announced formal positions within their analytics department, noting Moser will work with Director of Analytics Yuju Lee and Associate Director of Analytics Aaron Danielson.
Here's an interesting excerpt that details the additions and changes, via the Lakers' release (emphasis mine):
This will be Moser's fifth season with the Lakers organization, originally coming to Los Angeles as associate head coach of the D-Fenders for the 2011-12 campaign, before being promoted to the parent club in December of that year. He served as the head advance NBA scout for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, and added assistant coaching duties to his responsibilities last season. The Wisconsin-LaCrosse graduate brings over 25 years of professional basketball management and coaching experience to the newly-created position, where he will work directly with the coaching and analytics staffs to integrate ideas and information between the departments. Moser will work closely with Director of Analytics Yuju Lee and Associate Director of Analytics Aaron Danielson.
Lee brings a wealth of statistical and computer science knowledge to his position, holding MS degrees in each discipline from UCLA, while working closely with the basketball operations, coaching, and training staffs to incorporate statistical analysis into the day-to-day operation of each department. Lee was originally hired as a consultant by the Lakers for the 2012-13 season, contributing to a variety of analytics projects.
Danielson's role includes designing and implementing statistical analysis for the basketball operations department, while also assessing league trends and developing new analytic content for the coaching and training staffs. Currently finishing his PhD in statistics at UCLA, Danielson previously earned master's degrees in public policy from the University of Chicago and in economics from NYU. He began working with the Lakers two seasons ago in a consultant role.
That's a lot to digest, but the transparency is welcome, and these roles seem ideal. Everything points to a directive that trickles back to the coaching staff needing to cooperate as a partner. It's unfair to expect a complete turnaround in a single summer, but making a concentrated effort to get the ball rolling very publicly is a strong declaration by the Lakers.
Training camp begins on Sep. 29, and the Lakers are looking to have up to 20 players on their roster to evaluate. They've acquired several undrafted prospects, brought over an international veteran, and are said to be exploring the idea of bringing Metta World Peace back. The growing basketball operations team is preparing for its first test once activities fully resume.