Near and at the end of the season, the Lakers lost several front office staffers to either resignation or by letting them go outright. Strength and Conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco and Assistant GM Glenn Carraro both resigned while Analytics Director Yuju Lee was outright let go. We learned that these moves were part of a larger front office reorganization, one that would restructure the scouting department as well.
A name that did not get a lot of press during the overhaul and shakeup was Rondre Jackson, the team’s Director of Player Development. From the team’s media guide:
Rondre Jackson begins his 10th year with the Lakers franchise and second as director of player development. He is primarily responsible for assisting General Manager Mitch Kupchak in the day-to-day operations of the team with a focus on the personal growth of the players on the roster, providing resources and assisting in the development of life skills off-the-court and outside of basketball. Jackson serves on the NBA’s Steering Committee for player development, and won the Dana Davis Award for best player development work in the NBA for the 2015-16 season.
So, that’s what Jackson did. And, based on him being recognized by the league for his work just a year prior, he was pretty good at his job. And he was let go at the end of the year.
Now, it seems, the Lakers are in the process of finding his replacement.
From Brad Turner of the LA Times:
Corey Maggette, Lester Conner, Mo Peterson interviewed for Lakers director of player development/special assistant to Magic/Pelinka, source.
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) August 4, 2017
Lakers will continue to interview for the positions that reports to president Magic Johnson/GM Rob Pelinka, per sources.
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) August 4, 2017
Turner reports that Maggette has withdrawn his name from consideration, but it looks like the Lakers are going to continue to explore options beyond those they have already spoken with anyways.
I do find it interesting that every candidate mentioned was a former player — though Conner is much older than both Peterson and Maggette, wrapping his career (1995) before the latter two were even in the league. Though, when diving deeper, having guys who have lived through what these players are going through and who can be a resource to them with words of wisdom and offer advice about some of the pitfalls players face off the court while also providing some guidance on how to optimize some of the opportunities they have open to them off it.
In any event, I’m looking forward to see who the Lakers tab for this position. The person who is in this role may not get a lot of pub or spotlight, but he can be a key member of the front office and an important part of the development of these guys as they grow in the league. Especially on a roster with young players like the Lakers possess.
very interesting and very important.
Keep us informed.
LALaker 14 says
Having NBA playing experience should be a plus. The FO has made some good hires so far, let’s hope the trend continues.
It looks like there are at least two ways to define the role. One is the way Rondre Jackson did where he reported to the FO and handled non-basketball related issues for the players as needed. He ran errands, organized activities on road trips, and made sure the younger players had their needs taken care of. Arguably nutrition and conditioning could also fall under this person’s supervision. The other way is to have the Director of Player Development report to the head coach. In that role, the person is more of an extension of the head coach and helps the players to make sure they understand what they should be doing on the court. In this case, the director would attend coaches meetings, review film tapes, and help players to focus on areas of improvement. Given all of the assistant coaches Luke has, it makes more sense for the Lakers to continue what Jackson was doing and expanding it to do more for nutrition.
It is curious that he was let go so shortly following a recognition of excellence. It is also curious that he won that award in 2015-2016, was that not the year that a certain rookie PG publicly released footage of a teammate which led to a media fiasco and locker room division?
Has he since been hired in that post by another team? If not, red flag on how that award translates to league perception of Job performance.
Thus far I love the organizational strip-down/rebuild strategy that magic & pelinka are employing. To echo what Darius has written in the past, a successful basketball franchise is not merely a product of good players/coaches. You have to surround the on-court talent with elite talent of all kinds. The organizational goal should be to have A+ employees at every post, player; coach; scout; trainer; medical; president; GM; owner.
I understand this to be an idealistic goal and possibly unrealistic in a hyper competitive market like the NBA. But Magic/Rob have preached “excellence”. this type of ambitious company model is what that distinction requires.
With the hires of splashy names; Gunnar Peterson (in addition to Magic/Rob themselves) there has been room to be skeptical of the FO’s hiring criteria and what factors were being most heavily weighed, credentials or notoriety. However, each has certain tools that give them upside/potential and I believe the scouting department has been modernized for the better. I’m anxious to see how all of this new change/excitement plays out in the regular season. Go Lakers!
Old Timer says
This person has to be attuned to the new generation of players who are well versed in technology, millennial needs preferably a degree holder that can be respected by all players whether rookies or Superstars. A person who has background in athletics, semi-psychologist, nutritional enrichment with strong social skills in helping players development as they ventured to stardom or frustrations while keeping eye with goals of Magic and Rob.