The purple and gold Los Angeles basketball team have secured their place in the Finals and could just win it.
Okay Laker Nation, don't get your hopes up (just yet). You haven't slept through two months of basketball to the best awakening ever. Instead, the Lakers development team, the D-Fenders, are taking their really evolving squad to the Finals of the NBADL (the 'NCIS' to the NBA's 'CSI').
Not bad for a team that took last year off. Now you can call that a comeback. This year the experienced and great Eric Musselman-led D-Fenders have had a record amount of players called up to the NBA and helped hone impressive Laker Devin Ebanks and currently newly signed Christian Eyenga become even better players.
The team has also featured NBA All-Star dunk participant Jamario Moon (recently singed by the Charlotte Bobcats), former dunk champ Gerald Green (now headed to Brooklyn with New Jersey), former NBA Indiana starting Point Guard Jaamal Tinsley and former Pacers guard Brandon Rush's older brother Kareem.
The older Rush was a real sharp-shooter for the Lakers in the Shaq and Kobe days (wouldn't it be great to see him back in a Lakers uniform?) and recently had a foray into R&B during some of his R&R with the nice single 'Hold You Down'.
It's clear to see that the development league (which also gave former All-Star Antoine Walker a second chance) is no shortage of talent. Especially on this team which once had both former Lakers Jordan Farmer and Coby Karl play for both them and the Lakers on the same day.
This D-League is definitely the place where raw talent gets whipped into shape. It has really helped the league and players previously hurt by untapped potential. It shows just how much basketball potential is out there and just how expansive the wealth of talent is. A talent the D-League promises to turn into A students.
Now Mardy Collins, Zach Andrews, Elijah Milisap (brother of Utah Jazz top forward Paul) and the rest of this hard working, impressive bunch hope to show just how good this league and they are in an exciting finals with the top-tier Austin Toros team. This team features NBA talents like Julian Wright and Ronald Murray, ready to show the big time of this league why they belong in the above one.
What a finals it has been too, with the series tied at one game apiece. This matchup promised great battle and grand games we have seen that. Even though the D-Fenders have lost the last game to go along with more players this year, they could just do it against Austin after their inspiring and impressive season following a one-year layover. This could give the city of L.A. a winning basketball franchise before their parent team try to make it a family affair.
Even if neither Los Angeles ball club took home the gold this year, they still showed us just how an integral part of each other they are. After the final buzzer sounds following the final game, one outcome will be certain: This great influential and developing league and its D-Fender team are here to stay, no matter who comes and goes.