Scouting Potential LA D-Fender Call-Ups for Lakers Next Season

There has been much talk lately about the Buss family and what it will take to bring the Los Angeles Lakers back into prominence. The organization’s minor league affiliate should be part of that conversation.

The Los Angeles D-Fenders are presided over by CEO/President Joey Buss, who is charged with turning the team into a viable asset that can serve as an incubator for the Lakers themselves.

It’s not that much of a stretch—there have been times during the Lakers’ current woeful season when it seems as if the real firepower lies with their minor league siblings.

Given the restrictions of the current collective bargaining agreement, it only makes sense for the organization to develop players in-house and eventually funnel the cream of the crop into their roster on the cheap.

A couple years back, Andy and Brian Kamenetzky interviewed Joey Buss for ESPN Los Angeles and asked about the family dynamic and how his role would grow into the future:

I think Jimmy and I are a generation apart, so there’s still that aspect where I have, like, 80 years in front of me. Maybe not 80, but a long time to [grow] into taking a very deep role into the Lakers. Right now the goal is to train me, for lack of a better word, in this D-Fenders role. As I gain more experience, then bring me along more so with the Lakers. The better I do here, the more confidence people have with me.

It sounds like a smart plan for Joey, but has this family-owned ancillary business actually become a productive pipeline for players?

So far, the successes have been limited. The team often functions more as a place for underutilized Lakers to get increased playing time in real game situations.

As for call-ups, they often don't last long, partly because of the NBA rule that only allows an NBA team to sign the same D-League player to two 10-day contracts in the same seas...

About the Author