Sunday, November 11, 2012

Breaking Down D-League Rosters Pt. 8 : Los Angeles D-Fenders

November 2nd marked the 2012 D-League draft while each team also released their training camp rosters a few days earlier.  Teams can currently carry 17 players on their training camp rosters.  That number will be whittled down to 10 by November 21st at 5pm eastern time.  There were a bevy of trades on Monday which lead to today's current rosters.  In part eight of this series I'll be taking a look at this year's Los Angeles D-Fenders.

After being inactive for a season, L.A. roared back into the D-League and came within one game of claiming the title last year.  The D-Fenders are owned and operated by the Los Angeles Lakers.  The first noteworthy item is that the Lakers have already assigned Darius Johnson-Odom to the team just yesterday.  He was the 55th pick in the 2012 NBA draft out of Marquette where he averaged 18.3 points per game as a senior on his way to being named 1st Team All-Big East.

Jamario Moon during his time with the Clippers
This team should be led by some veteran players with NBA experience under their belt.  Jamario Moon averaged 17.7 pts & 7.8 reb in 12 games for L.A. and was named D-League Player of the Month for March before his April call-up to the Bobcats.  Moon has played in the NBA at some point in each of the last 5 seasons with career averages of 6.3 pts & 4.3 reb.  Moon, who is currently 32 years old, jumped right to the D-League after college back in 2001 and played in parts of 4 D-League seasons before his time with L.A. last year.  Joining Moon is the 53rd pick in the 2005 draft Orien Greene.  Greene averaged 9.2 pts & 4.6 ast for L.A. last year and also spent some time playing in Canada.  He had spent the previous two years with the now-defunct Utah Flash and earned a 2011 call-up from the Nets.  Overall, Greene has 131 games of NBA experience with 4 teams in 4 different seasons.

Orien Greene adds NBA experience
Courtney Fortson is also back in the fold this year.  After graduating from Arkansas in 2010, Fortson went to Romania to begin his career before landing with the Reno Bighorns for 6 games.  He began last season with the D-Fenders and was called up by the Clippers in January.  He was sent back to L.A. before being called up again, this time by the Rockets.  The Rockets signed him to a multi-year deal and assigned him to Rio Grande Valley before releasing him this offseason.  All together Fortson averaged 17.2 pts, 6.2 ast & 4.5 reb during his time in the D-League and saw 10 games of NBA action.  He spent training camp with the Clippers before being returned to his current squad.

Courtney Fortson returns to L.A.
Gary Flowers played 16 games for L.A. in a reserve role as a rookie while also appearing in 6 games for Greek team KAOD.  He was named All-CUSA 1st Team as a senior at Southern Miss when he averaged 18.8 pts & 7. reb.  Kevin Kruger joins the team as well.  He spent 4 years with the Utah Flash before putting up 10.7 points per game for Aalstar in Belgium last year.  Jarrid Famous & Darnell Dodson join L.A. after a trade with Fort Wayne sent 1st round pick Dairese Gary away.  Famous split his rookie season between Iowa & Fort Wayne while averaging 13.9 pts & 8.5 reb.  He saw 2 games of action during the lockout in Slovakia.  After the season he played with the Bucks summer league team and made the training camp roster of the Grizzlies.  Dodson is a rookie from Southern Miss who was selected in the 4th round by Fort Wayne.  He averaged 11.2 pts & 4.8 reb a season ago but perhaps is best know for his time with Kentucky.  During the 09-10 season, he was a starter on the Elite 8 team that featured John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and 6 other players that have played in the NBA.

Jarrid Famous arrives from Fort Wayne
As noted, L.A. traded their first round pick away and didn't have picks in the 2nd or 3rd rounds.  In the 4th they took Rashad Bishop, a 4 year college player from Cincinnati who spent his rookie season in Brazil averaging 15.3 pts & 5.5 reb for Cia do Terno.  Former Charlotte 49er center Phil Jones was selected in round 5.  Jones spent his rookie year in Romania with Cluj Napoca and saw time in training camp with the T'Wolves.  Round 6 brought a familiar face in the D-League, Tristan Thompson.  This Tristan Thompson played 13 games with Austin last year after graduating from North Texas where he averaged 18 points per game as a senior.  Cecil Brown was selected in the 7th round and returns for his bi-annual stint in the D-League after playing in France's 2nd division with Antibes last year.  He played with L.A. as a rookie during the 07-08 season as well as with Tulsa during the 09-10 campaign.  With two picks in the 8th round, L.A. took Mamadou Diarra & Eniel Polynice.  Diarra is a seven-footer from Mali who played his college ball at USC & Chaminade before spending his rookie year with 3rd division Spanish side Oviedo.  Polynice spent 3 years at Ole Miss before transferring to Seton Hall.  He played 17 games for L.A. last year in limited minutes while also spending time in Mexico.

Rookie Renardo Sidney
The D-Fenders might have the most intriguing players who made the team via tryout.  Renardo Sidney looks to begin his professional career after declaring for the NBA draft after his junior year and going undrafted.  He averaged a disappointing 9.7 pts & 5.2 reb at Mississippi State last year after he had already dealt with multiple suspensions & conditioning issues throughout his college career.  Anthony Stover arrives after being ruled academically ineligible after two years at UCLA.  He only played limited minutes but was known for his shot-blocking ability.  Stover will also be auto-eligible for the 2014 draft or sooner if he so chooses that route.  Lastly we have Augustine Okosun, a big man who was cut by Reno last year after they made him a 5th round pick.  He did spend 14 games in the D-League with Austin during the 09-10 season but has since played in lower level Spanish divisions, the WCBL & with Al Ahli in Qatar last season.

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