The most prestigious individual award in the NBA D-League was handed out to Andrew Goudelock, who is currently a member of the Los Angeles Lakers after receiving a GATORADE Call-Up on April 14. Goudelock, or "Mini Mamba" as Laker fans may better recognize him as, was named the 2013 NBA Development League MVP after his stellar play this past season. Due to L.A.'s recently injured guards, Goudelock has been catapulted up the the Lakers' depth chart, and will be forced to put his MVP celebration on hold, as he helps L.A. dig themselves out from a 0-2 series deficit.
Goudelock played incredibly well throughout the season as a member of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, and Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Goudelock played in 52 games and averaged 21.1 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in 37.1 minutes. His play earned him MVP honors as voted on by the 16 head coaches in the NBA D-League.
After being selected in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Lakers, Goudelock participated in 40 contests for L.A. last season, and also had a 1-game stint with their NBADL affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders. In his single game with the D-Fenders, Goudelock notched 24.0 points, 7.0 assists, and 4.0 rebounds in 47.0 minutes.
Just before his GATORADE Call-Up, Goudelock played for Rio Grande Valley in the NBADL playoffs and dropped 27 points in 47 minutes. Obviously, Goudelock is used to playing heavy minutes as demonstrated from his time in the NBA D-League this season. Goudelock remains an excellent scorer, but improved as a passer during his stay in the D-League. If head coach Mike D'Antoni selects Goudelock for increased minutes due to their injury plagued backcourt, it may allow for a second rendition of the "Mini Mamba" in L.A.
In a city, and a franchise that enjoys drama, Goudelock getting loose and having a large impact on what could be a series shifting Game 3, would be an intriguing story line. His familiarity with the Purple and Gold may increase his odds of providing a positive spark with the team. Darius Morris and Chris Duhon are the only other healthy guard options for D'Antoni, and with Goudelock's heavy dose of minutes throughout the year in the NBADL, it seems that physically he remains more of a viable backcourt option.
In Goudelock's last eight games before his coveted NBA Call-Up, the former College of Charleston standout scored over 40 points twice, and played some of his best basketball. In fact, Goudelock was named NBA D-League Co-Player of the Month for games in the month of March.
Guarding Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili is a lot different than matching up with any of the guards that were in the NBA D-League, so Goudelock certainly has his work cut out for him. But, Goudelock proved that he was the best player in the NBADL this past season, and that his game is ready for the NBA-level once again.
It was the Jeremy Lin story that increased recognition of the NBA D-League last season, perhaps the second coming of "Mini Mamba" will be the NBADL's headline grabbing story this year? At the moment, it appears the 2013 NBA D-League MVP will be presented with the opportunity to do so.