Darius Johnson-Odom Assigned to NBA D-League. Is the Timing Strange?

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Los Angeles Lakers' recently assigned Darius Johnson-Odom to the NBA D-League. Will the rookie actually be with the affiliate through training camp to appear in a game at the end of the month?

The Los Angeles Lakers announced recently that they have assigned Darius Johnson-Odom to the organization's D-League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders.

Having made the team after being selected in the second-round of last summer's NBA draft, it was clear the guard had enough potential for a contender to take notice. That said, a ton of potential often also means a prospect may need time to develop and experiment on the court a bit to really hone his skills.

Before his firing, Mike Brown had alluded to the fact that Johnson-Odom was a rather raw young gun, despite displaying some of the talents Lakers' brass liked to see.

That's exactly why it's not surprising to see the Marquette product get sent down to the NBA D-League to display his talents a bit. Competing with backup guards like Steve Blake, Chris Duhon, and Jodie Meeks for minutes, it's easy to see why the rookie may need work before he's chosen to log some minutes (instead of those veterans) for the Lakers.

What does happen to be a bit strange, however, is the exact timing of Johnson-Odom's first NBADL assignment. With the D-League season not poised to begin until the very end of the month, the guard will have to wait a couple weeks before hitting the official minor league hardwood.

If such an opportunity is not available yet, what exactly is the point of sending the second-rounder down? The D-Fenders currently have training camp going on. Is Johnson-Odom part of the affiliate's "long-term" plans for the season? If the Lakers plan to keep Johnson-Odom with the D-Fenders for the majority of the season, perhaps it is worth giving him time with the team before the season starts. This would allow the coaching staff to begin running plays for and around a key player they'd like to feature throughout.

But if keeping the prospect in the D-League for the long-haul they call a basketball season is not the plan for the foreseeable future, why not keep Johnson-Odom with the Lakers until the minor league campaign actually begins?

On the surface, one would have to assume going through the motions of NBA practices, as he all the while learns from league veterans and future Hall of Famers, would be more beneficial.

Even if the Lakers do not have plans to play Johnson-Odom consistently over the next few weeks, isn't allowing him to learn more in practice better than going through another training camp, this time with the D-Fenders? Or is an extended training camp exactly what Los Angeles believes the rookie needs? Surely, their plan will unveil itself sooner than later. It'll be interesting to see if Johnson-Odom actually sees time in a game come later this month.

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