Los Angeles D-Fenders vs. Colorado 14ers

Los Angeles D-Fenders vs. Colorado 14ers
Dec 13, 2006, 07:25 pm
Despite leading at the half, the Los Angeles D-fenders were pummeled in the final two quarters by the Colorado 14ers, eventually losing 113-84. The 29 point margin of victory is, not coincidentally, the amount of points totaled by 14er guard/forward Von Wafer. Wafer led an offensive onslaught, shooting 5 of 5 from behind the arc in the second half. The D-Fenders shot a paltry 29.4% for the game and only 14.6% in the 3rd and 4th quarters. With only 6 made baskets during those quarters Los Angeles was hard pressed to match Colorado’s 68 point outburst.


Devin Green – Devin lead all D-Fenders in scoring with 19 points, but only shot 1-9 in the second half. He was able to get some production from the free throw line in the first half, but despite going 9 of 11 for the game, he was held to just 4 points in the final two quarters. He made a couple of outstanding defensive plays, however, including a couple of blocks on his man. He led the break well, and stayed within the confines of the offense, showing a nice touch on a finger roll over the defense off a tri curl. Devin often appears simply faster than his D-League competition, and if he were to force the issue, he could probably get to the basket just about every possession. However, he makes a conscious effort to stay within the triangle, and occasionally that hurts the team as a whole. Sometimes a team needs a player to step up, and so far in his pro career Devin hasn’t needed to be that guy. Playing in the NBDL this season might just afford him that chance. We’ll see if he takes it.

Jackie Manuel – Known as a lockdown defender coming out of North Carolina, Jackie has intentionally looked more for offensive opportunities since arriving in the D-League. His senior year of college his season high in points was 14, which he equaled twice against South Carolina and Virginia. This year he’s averaging more than that at 15 points per game. Against the 14ers he scored 14 points on 5 of 17 shooting, grabbed 6 boards (3 offensive), racked up 2 steals, and even found time to block 3 shots. He showed some nice body control on a layup from Devin Green in transition where he hung a bit in the air and maneuvered around a player. He jumped over his man and shot it off the glass for a one handed jumper, he threw up a lefty runner that led to the And-1, and pump-faked his man out of position and then displayed some footwork by stepping through for the shot and forcing the foul. He made a great steal off Colorado’s Von Wafer, but led the break poorly, eventually resulting in a turnover. Manuel has a huge wingspan, is a great defender, and was possibly on his way to being drafted in the second round when he broke his foot before the draft. This stint in the NBDL is a second opportunity for him and he’s trying to make the most of it.


Von Wafer – Former Los Angeles Laker Von Wafer showed why he’s 3rd in the NBDL in scoring by racking up 29 points on 10 of 19 shooting, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. He turned the ball over 7 times, mostly trying to drive and create for his teammates. Wafer is a deadly shooter when he gets on a streak, and he lead the 14ers from being down in the first half to an absolute blowout in the second. He hit a couple of corner 3’s on kickouts, hit back-to-back 3s on passes around the perimeter, faked the 3 and then drove and kicked to Eric Osmundson for a 3 and threw a no-look pass to Elton brown for a layup. He also showed his athleticism on a monstrous dunk on an outlet pass in transition, as well as a very impressive move where he drove, planted his foot, and then spun around the defender for an acrobatic layup. Wafer is a very interesting player. With an impressive combination of smooth shooting and top level athletic ability you can see why the Lakers felt he was worth the risk in the second round of the draft. If Von can bring more consistency to his game, and, as his coach is quick to point out, “just play basketball”, he could certainly be considered a potential call-up candidate.

Julius Hodge – Hodge is an interesting case. He shot 6 of 11 for the game, but he’s clearly still not in rhythm on the floor. A first round selection in the 2005 draft, Hodge was shot three times last year in his left leg and hasn’t played basketball since. Julius is using the D-League much like a Major League Baseball team might use it’s local affiliate: he’s on a “rehab assignment”. He scored 15 points, grabbed 6 boards and dished 6 assists. He’s a good example of how different the level of competition in the NBDL is than the NBA in that despite not playing basketball since April he’s still one of the better players on the court. He was bringing the ball up, and playing distributor a lot of the game, but made some mistakes, including two bad passes on consecutive trips down the floor. A lot of where he’s at can probably be summed up in two plays: on the first he was over-dribbling terribly, but still managing to get around several defenders, and eventually scored the layup. He showed his ability, but he also showed that he wasn’t in rhythm with the rest of his team. On the second play, he made an NBA caliber move where he split a double-team and beat the players badly, but then absolutely blew the layup. He once against displayed some ability, and again showed that he’s not quite “there” yet. It’s still highly likely, however, that Julius is back with the big club sooner rather than later.

Elton Brown – Brown racked up a double-double with 17 points and 13 boards (9 offensive). The hustle between him and Amundson was overwhelming at times for the D-Fenders.

Louis Amundson – Louis blocked consecutive shots on one sequence, and then fouled the man on the third attempt. That seems to be what you get with Amundson. He scored 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting, including an impressive runner off the glass at a very sharp angle, as well as a tip-in on his own miss from the free throw line. A lot of Colorado’s comeback and dominance in the second half was due to Amundson’s play, but at the same time, he also fouled out of the game in only 20 minutes of play.

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