Lakers director of recruiting explains how the team got elite role players among the final picks: “Potential versus production.”

The Los Angeles Lakers are a team that has had more draft success than most people realize. Indeed, most of the players they drafted have already left the team, whether to make room to sign LeBron James or to acquire Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans,

Many players selected by LA reach the end of the first or second round, with the franchise showing remarkable consistency in getting players into those rounds. Jesse Buss, the director of scouting with the Lakers, sat down with Mike Trudell and revealed the Lakers’ philosophy on finding talent at the lower ends of the draft board.

“A lot of times when we discuss the board, it comes down to potential versus production. In the specific cases of the guys we’ve had success with who were older in college, we felt their production and who we thought they “It would be because NBA players were just too high to pass on. What I mean by that is that in comparison, there were players with an advantage that were available to those picks. But we felt that even if those guys got their edge, the player we got with those picks was going to be a better player five years from now. That’s really what we focus on when ranking these guys. We want whoever will be the best long-term player for the Lakers. My philosophy is that every time we draft a player for the Lakers, I want them to finish their career here. I want him to argue that he is a player here for the long haul. (h/t NBA)

Should the Lakers focus on finding steals in the draft?

The Lakers try to build a strong development philosophy through the scouting department, but it seems other teams benefit more from the Lakers’ ability to find the right young players and develop them.

The current roster has a distinct lack of homegrown players, as top homegrown players have transferred to other teams for trades that haven’t looked as good over time. The trade that sent Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis might have won the 2020 championship, but the Lakers struggled to keep AD healthy and lost 3 rotational players to him .

The Russell Westbrook trade saw them lose Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso (the Lakers couldn’t afford to keep him because of Russ’ contract) as both players had career years in their new organizations. Talen Horton-Tucker went from a hot youngster on the roster to being traded for an expiring contract to Patrick Beverley.

The Lakers picked Max Christie over former draft lottery pick Jaden Hardy, so there are bets they’ve taken in the drafting this season. Hopefully the Lakers can make Austin Reaves and Max Christie solid NBA players, like they have with so many others. If they succeed in this task, the rotation will start to look more solid alongside LeBron and Davis.

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