Landry Fields’ journey: From player to scout to assistant GM in four years

Atlanta Hawks assistant general manager Landry Fields at the team's training facility after the 2021 NBA draft. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Atlanta Hawks assistant general manager Landry Fields at the team's training facility after the 2021 NBA draft. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Landry Fields was ready to give his playing career one more chance.

After sitting out the 2015-16 season with a nerve issue in his right elbow, he intended to play in the Las Vegas Summer League with the Warriors. His right arm had other ideas. Then came the sudden realization that he needed to think about life after basketball.

“It was awful,” Landry told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Mentally, I was fried.”

Just four years later, the 33-year-old Fields was named the assistant general manager of the Hawks. It has been anything but a traditional route to management – three years as a scout and one year as G League general manager. When the Hawks came calling last year, he couldn’t say no to the opportunity to develop talent and an NBA roster.

As he sat and watched while unable to play his last season with the Raptors, Fields began his scouting career in a way.

“I always had an interest in scouting, and maybe that was the genesis of it because I wasn’t playing that much, and I had a lot of scouting to do,” Fields said. “Things always went through my mind like, ‘He’d be a great Raptor for us, the way he moves.’ That’s something that naturally came to me. In my head, at that point, I was like everyone does that. If you are a basketball player, you watch basketball. Not everyone thinks like that.”

Fields returned to Los Angeles. He did some work for ESPN. He thought about going into the media. A few teams reached out, but the fit wasn’t right. And then the Spurs called. Hearing that he was transitioning out of basketball, they spoke to him about being a regional scout. He flew to San Antonio to interview and was offered the job before he left. The fit was right. Fields didn’t have to relocate and spent the next three years as the franchise’s West Coast scout.

Fields would have to relocate when the Spurs made him the general manager of the G League Austin Spurs. He continued to do draft scouting and strategic planning.

Fields’ first encounter with the Hawks came in a chance meeting with Nick Ressler, son of Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler and the team’s director of business and basketball operations, at a scouting event.

With a vacant assistant position, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk took some time to think about a replacement when Jeff Petersen left for the Nets. He received a couple of recommendations for Fields and finally reached out for permission to speak with him. Another good fit. Another relocation. Fields joined the Hawks last year and was a part of the team’s historic playoff run. He just completed his second draft.

“I might not be the most related person to a 22-year-old NBA player,” Schlenk said. “I really wanted to have someone who could complement me and my deficiencies. I don’t know that I’ve ever been described as warm and fuzzy, but I think it’s important to relate with the players, establish solid relationships with the players, and with Landry, those are certainly his strengths. That was a big draw. I think he’s got a very bright future in this league.”

Fields, who credits his wife for being a rock during his rapid ascent, also believes that his recent connection with the game and an understanding of the inner workings of a team are assets in his role.

“Everyone is able to empathize to a certain degree,” Fields said. “Having lived through it, understanding at certain points of the season guys might be feeling certain things. Being on different teams, ones that have made the playoffs, ones that haven’t. I’ve had tons of different teammates. The dynamic of the locker room, how that can be. Voices and whispers that happen. Coaching dynamics.

“Having lived and experienced all that is, I think an advantage. That doesn’t necessitate that I have all the answers or that I’m necessarily right when it comes down to it.”

Fields said he enjoys the component of development – both player and team. He enjoys bringing a different perspective. And he loves the creativity his position allows. He is learning the ins and outs of the salary cap and other league rules.

Who knows? There might be another fit and another relocation one day. Schlenk said he thinks Landry will be “running his own ship in the future.” Now, there is more video to watch, more players to scout, more decisions to be made. You see, Landry also is looking for the right fit.