D-Fender Possibilities

The Lakers D-League team, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, open up their season tomorrow at 2:30 against the Utah Flash.

The D-Fenders recently set their opening day roster of 10 by cutting former UCLA guard Brian Morrison and Laker training camp invitee Andre Patterson. But that roster might get a couple additions in the form of some Lakers rookies.

D-League rules dictate that first and second year players on NBA rosters are eligible to be sent to their team’s D-League affiliates. This means that of the current Lakers, Jordan Farmar, Javaris Crittenton, and Coby Karl are eligible for assignment.

Farmar spent time with the D-Fenders last season when he wasn’t getting much playing time in the Lakers rotation. Farmar ended the season as the Lakers starting point guard and has solidified himself as a key backup to Derek Fisher. Jordan is currently averaging more than 10 points in 21 minutes per game and doesn’t look to be destined for anything less than the starting point guard spot spot on the Sophmore team at All-Star Weekend.

Crittenton and Karl are a different matter. Both have played sparingly in the Lakers first 12 games and could benefit from the extra playing time.

Coby would probably welcome an opportunity to get some playing time, but Crittenton has bigger plans.

Javaris came in with hopes of working his way into the regular rotation and competing for the Rookie of the Year, but Farmar’s emergence and Phil Jackson’s penchant to break rookie’s in slowly have given Crittenton more DNPs than minutes played.

It’s been a tough adjustment on the rookie from Georgia Tech, as Phil Jackson tells the LA Times Mike Bresnahan:

“He’s disappointed,” Jackson said. “I tell kids when they come in to the team similar to a pledge, or someone like that, that rookies are lower [in the pecking order] and they have to understand that. That’s the lowest point in the world. . . . And he’s still finding that out.”

Crittenton, selected No. 19 in the 2007 draft, is averaging two points and six minutes in three games.

“We want him to be a learner right now,” Jackson said. “He’s talented. We’re trying to encourage him to keep learning in practice and developing his game and keep his head up, even though it’s discouraging for him right now.”

Per league rules, the Lakers can send their players down to the D-League a maximum of three times, so timing might be an issue. The D-Fenders play a sporadic home schedule that is based directly on Lakers home games and players are allowed to practice with the big club even when assigned to the D-Fenders. They also continue to count against the 15 player NBA maximum.

2 For 1 Deal
The D-Fenders play the majority of their games before Lakers’ home games, with a select few after early Sunday games. Your Lakers ticket is good for free admission and a lower level seat to the D-Fenders games.

The D-Fenders roster includes Brian Chase, who was a D-League All-Star last season, former Laker Devin Green, and NBA veteran & ex-UCLA standout Jelani McCoy. More local flavor is provided by former USC Trojans Errick Craven & Abdoulaye N’Diaye.

Come out early and check out the Lakers future stars.