Jerry West’s Son Ryan Carries Lakers’ Past into the Future as Key Scout for LA

LOS ANGELES — A lot has been said about the family business lately.

The Los Angeles Lakers are a family business in more ways than that one, though.

That understanding, along with an unwavering in-house pride in the Lakers brand, washes over you if you sit in the small office shared by two of the sons with famous last names doing an awful lot of grunt work. In the even smaller office next door is Bill Bertka, 86, in his 33rd consecutive year with the Lakers.

Whether you're a Buss, a West or a Bertka, it is a very real thing to be part of the Lakers family.

With the team about to post its single worst record in 54 years in Los Angeles, it's a good time to introduce Ryan West. On the surface, it's a good time to know anyone who will have a hand in deciding the Lakers' highest draft pick in 32 years—and West is one of the Lakers' primary scouting voices these days.

Yes, he is Jerry West's son. Yes, he was the one Jerry groomed to inherit his eye for talent. And with Mitch Kupchak increasing Ryan's workload to include "a lot of things" and Kupchak's expectation that West, 34, will occupy his own general manager chair down the road, fans will find out about Ryan West eventually anyway.

"He's eager and bright and loves to work," Kupchak said.

But West's story for now says as much about the Lakers family as his career path. He shares that office with Jesse Buss, late owner Jerry Buss' youngest son at age 26, and together they run the Lakers' scouting department that reports to Jesse's brother Jim Buss, executive vice president of basketball operations, and Kupchak, who played his final four NBA seasons with the Lakers before moving into the executive ranks.

When you pop into the next-door office of venerable Bertka, who assisted on the coaching staffs of Bill Sharman, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, you see every spot on the walls covered with glorious ...

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