The Los Angeles Lakers’ front office is going to look nothing like that which Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak resided over by the time next season rolls around. Changes have already taken place with the training staff, the player development team and now have reached the analytics department.
ESPN’s Baxter Holmes is reporting that Yuju Lee, director of basketball analytics, has stepped down after being asked to take a demotion. He had been with the organization for four years.
This is where it gets interesting. This could very well be Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka wanting to bring in their own analytics experts, in which case, great.
Less great would be finding out that analytics could be de-emphasized in an organization that was already widely known as behind the eight ball in that regard.
Magic had said immediately after being hired as team president that he wanted to involve analytics, so as of yet, there’s no reason to believe he won’t stick to his word. As an agent, Pelinka has clients who’ve benefitted greatly by thinking about the game analytically, so again, it’s probably safe to assume they’ll invest in that type of information.
With the lottery less than two weeks away, Johnson and Pelinka will have to start the hiring process, so as to get all pieces in place while they try to rebuild the on-court product to levels they promised after taking their respective jobs.
How they fill those roles will say a lot about the franchise’s direction under their leadership.