Elijah Millsap helped guide the Los Angeles D-Fenders to their first ever NBA D-League Finals appearance last season. Along the way, the 6'6'' guard and brother of Paul Millsap, landed a 2012 NBA D-League All-Star selection and ended the season with NBA D-League All-Second team honors. Millsap averaged 19.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.9 steals as a key factor for the D-Fenders who ended the season with a D-League record 38 total wins.
Millsap returned last night and played sparingly, but the D-Fenders were able to end a 4-game skid and get back to their accustomed winning ways based off of last season's success. Millsap played just shy of 14 minutes in a jersey that lacked his last name representation on the backside due to his quick insertion onto the team's roster. Millsap went 1-for-6 from the field, but cashed in on all 4 of his free throw shots. He finished the evening tallying just 6 points, but more importantly was apart of a winning effort for head coach Reggie Theus and the D-Fenders over the Reno Bighorns.
Despite not cashing in on their NBA D-League championship opportunity, the D-Fenders had an incredible season last year, leaving Theus and this season's condensed roster the tough task of improving on last season's accomplishments. The D-Fenders themselves accounted for 8 of the record breaking 60 Call-Ups last season. Head coach Eric Musselman also took home the Coach of the Year award as the D's dominated the league for the better part of the season. Now with Millsap back, the D-Fenders have increased their chances of reaching the bar in which they set last season for the franchise.
Millsap now returns alongside familiar teammates in Orien Green, Courtney Fortson, and Jamario Moon. The D-Fenders have been led by the play of Darius Johnson-Odom who once again turned in a stellar performance last night finishing with 28 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds. As Millsap works his way back into the heart of the D-Fenders lineup, the former University of Alabama-Birmingham product will help the D-Fenders by adding his solid finishing ways around the hoop. Millsap's biggest asset is his toughness, especially near the glass where he seems to fly in without regard to his physical well-being.
Now that Millsap has rejoined L.A., look out for the D-Fenders to establish themselves amongst the top of the NBA D-League standings once again. Millsap's fearless and inspired play will likely ignite the club, and with the surrounding talent that already looms in El Segundo, the Lakers' D-League affiliate will look to regain a spot at the top of the D-League standings.