Could "Mini-Mamba" be a short-term answer for the Lakers point guard depth issues? - Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Now that Steve Blake is scheduled to miss 6-8 weeks of action due to his torn abdominal muscle which will now require surgery, the Lakers will remain incredibly thin at the point guard position. With a very limited number of possible free agents, the Lakers should look for a point guard stop-gap option out of the NBA D-League.
If your first name is Steve, and you're listed on the Lakers roster as a point guard, chances are you've spent more time lacing up dress shoes than actual basketball kicks. The current Lakers point guard situation consists of an out-of-position Kobe Bryant at times, Chris Duhon and Darius Morris. They will likely need some added depth at the position, and a player in the D-League might be a perfect piece to help the Lakers in the short-term.
Los Angeles, who is looking to dig themselves out of the early season hole they've dug before Mike D'Antoni took over, has plenty of obstacles already, let alone an injury bug that has crippled their roster. But, the fact is that the Lakers will need to come up with a plan until Steve Nash can get healthy enough to return, and that plan should entail the D-League as an option.
The Lakers can look no further than their own training facility in El Segundo, where their D-League affiliate the Los Angeles D-Fenders claim home. The D-Fenders have two viable options in Darius Johnson-Odom (who has been assigned four times by the Lakers this season) and Courtney Fortson. Johnson-Odom has been impressive so far during his stint with the D-Fenders. DJO has averaged 21.7 points, 6.0 assists, and 6.0 rebounds in three games. Johnson-Odom is clearly in game shape as well, he has averaged 42.3 minutes for head coach Reggie Theus and the D-Fenders.
Fortson has filled the role as a stop-gap point guard before, in fact last season Fortson received a Call-Up from the Los Angeles Clippers to add point guard depth while Chris Paul recovered from a strained hamstring injury. Fortson is less likely to be an option, it was his time spent in Clippers training camp which propelled Fortson to the Clippers roster last season. Johnson-Odom was a member of training camp with the Lakers, and perhaps could follow a similar path in which Fortson carved out last season with their L.A. neighbors.
Some other D-League names were mentioned by Yahoo's Marc J. Spears via his Twitter account including Fort Wayne's Walker Russell, and Idaho's Coby Karl. Another name to add to that group would be Andrew Goudelock who is currently playing with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Goudelock who earned the nickname "Mini-Mamba" last season, averaged 4.3 points and 10.5 minutes in 40 games. Goudelock was last waived by L.A., and has been excellent for the Skyforce who have started 3-0. Goudelock is averaging 23.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists as member of first year head coach Joel Abelson's team.
Both Johnson-Odom and Goudelock seem like they could fit a D'Antoni-style offense, and their familiarity with L.A. certainly makes each of them a candidate to add some depth at the point guard position for the Lakers. However, guessing what Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers front office will do has been almost impossible this season, but if they choose to look at the D-League, don't be surprised if any of the aforementioned players join the Purple and Gold for a short stretch here in the near future.