D-Fenders Who To Watch
by Trevor Wong | @trevor_wong
With the NBA playoffs tipping off, we take a look at former Los Angeles D-Fenders players on teams competing for the Larry O’Brien trophy.
*Listed in alphabetical orderGERALD GREEN, INDIANA PACERS
The former NBA slam dunk champion starred for the D-Fenders during the 2011-12 season, averaging 19.1 points and 4.6 rebounds on 48 percent field goals and 46 percent on 3’s in 22 games. He earned a call-up to the then New Jersey Nets and played in 31 games, while posting averages of 12.9 points and 3.5 boards. In the offseason, Green signed with the Indiana Pacers, and appeared in 60 games this year, averaging 7.0 points and 2.4 rebounds. Indiana, the No. 3 seed in the East, squares off against Atlanta, the No. 6 seed in the opening round of the playoffs. Game 1 is Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET on TNT.
ISHMAEL SMITH, MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Before he could suit up for the D-Fenders, the Orlando Magic called up Smith last year. He appeared in 20 games with Orlando, averaging 2.3 points and 1.6 assists. This year, he played in 36 games with the Magic before being dealt to Milwaukee at the trade deadline. In 52 combined appearances with both teams, Smith finished with averages of 2.4 points and 1.7 dimes. The No. 8 seeded Bucks face the top-seeded Heat in the first round, with Game 1 on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. ET on TNT.
MALCOLM THOMAS, CHICAGO BULLS
Thomas played one game with the D-Fenders this season; immediately after, he received a call up from Golden State. He signed a 10-day contract with the Warriors, appearing in five games, while recording a total of three points and five rebounds. The San Diego State product then signed another 10-day contract, this time with the Bulls, before being signed for the rest of the year. He scored six points and grabbed eight boards in 26 minutes on April 9 while with Chicago. The Bulls, the No. 5 seed in the East, open the playoffs at No. 4 seed Brooklyn, with Game 1 on Saturday. Tip is at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
LAKERS ASSIGNMENT PLAYERS
Ebanks appeared in three games for the D-Fenders last season, posting averages of 18.3 points and 6.0 rebounds on 55.3 percent field goals. He played sparingly this year with the Lakers, seeing the court in 19 games (3.4 points, 2.2 rebounds in 10 minutes).
Goudelock, a former second-round pick of the Lakers in 2011, played one game with the D-Fenders, recording 24 points, seven assists and five boards last season. He was recalled the following day and averaged 4.4 points his rookie year with the purple and gold. He split time between the Sioux Falls Skyforce and Rio Grande Valley Vipers this year (21.1 points, 5.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds), and was called up after Kobe Bryant suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury.
Another of the Lakers second-round draft selections from 2011, Morris appeared in two games for the D-Fenders this season averaging 15.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists. He started 17 games for the Lakers this year – 48 overall appearances – while averaging 4.0 points and 1.6 assists. His five straight points at the end of the third quarter vs. Houston in the regular-season finale helped L.A. keep close – a game they eventually won in overtime.
The Lakers second-round selection out of Gonzaga this year, Sacre started seven games for the D-Fenders, towards averages of 11.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He appeared in 32 games for the purple and gold, averaging 1.3 points and 1.1 boards. In the middle of the year, Sacre started three games for L.A. with all three big men – Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill – out because of various injuries. He put up a total of 20 points, nine rebounds and six blocks in those starts.