When the Lakers held their media day on Monday, no real surprises were to be expected. Media members knew that Metta World Peace would supply excellent soundbites about his offseason, Kobe Bryant would tell everyone how great he felt as he heads into yet another season, and Dwight Howard would easily be the most sought after interview of the day.
However, word quickly spread that the Lakers had signed Chris Douglas-Roberts to a training camp contract, catching many NBA scribes and media a bit off guard. Douglas-Roberts was a highly-touted talent entering the 2008 NBA draft, when he was selected 40th overall by the New Jersey Nets.
Douglas-Roberts seemed to score the ball at will while playing for Memphis, as he finished his college career posting averages of 14.2 points and 3.7 rebounds. It seemed as though he would bring his offensive skill set into the NBA and become a guy that other teams would have to account for out on the floor. Unfortunately for Douglas-Roberts, that's not the way his NBA career would begin.
The guard has averaged 7.7 points and 2.2 rebounds during his three year span in the NBA, while also playing for the Milwaukee Bucks in addition to the Nets. His forgettable averages, mixed with his decision to play in Italy during last year's partially locked out season, left Douglas-Roberts as an afterthought in terms of free agent players seeking training camp invites.
Perhaps his NBA career is finally back on track, as Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that the Lakers hope to see Douglas-Roberts as apart of their D-League affiliate's roster if he doesn't make their 15-man roster.
With only three listed small forwards on the Lakers roster, Douglas-Roberts has a legitimate shot at making their squad. But if he were to spend some time with the L.A. D-Fenders, it would surely benefit him.
Douglas-Roberts has to look no further than his new teammate Devin Ebanks to see the benefits of a stint with the Lakers' D-League single affiliate. Ebanks made good use of his time while playing for the D's and was able to stay fresh in the mind of Mitch Kupchak. Kupchak, who can often be seen lurking over the D's home games, undoubtedly took notice when Ebanks averaged his 18.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in just three games.
Unfortunately for Douglas-Roberts, Eric Musselman will no longer be at the helm for the D-Fenders. The coach certainly had a hand in six players receiving call-ups last season.
Yet, Douglas-Roberts should not fear if he lands with the D-Fenders this season. The Lakers organization has made it clear that they are dedicated to working closely with their affiliate, and if Douglas-Roberts were able to showcase his talent in the D-League with the D-Fenders, it would not go unnoticed by Lakers organization.