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Darius Johnson-Odom proving himself with the D-Fenders

December 14, 2012|By Eric Pincus
  • Darius Johnson-Odom drives against the Kings during a summer league game.
Darius Johnson-Odom drives against the Kings during a summer league game. ( )

The Lakers hope to break a four-game losing streak on Friday night in Washington against the Wizards.

Meanwhile the Lakers' D-League affiliate just ended a similar four-game slide.  The D-Fenders beat the Reno Bighorns on Thursday, 113-102, to improve to 3-4 on the season.

Lakers rookie guard Darius Johnson-Odom has played in all seven games, averaging a team-high 20.4 points per game along with 5.6 assists.  Against the Bighorns, he scored 28 points while dishing nine assists and making all 10 of his free-throw attempts.

While Johnson-Odom may be one of the best players on the D-Fenders, he's not quite ready to help the struggling Lakers.  He still has to prove he can compete against NBA-caliber talent.

The Lakers may need to add a piece to help at guard with Steve Nash (leg) and Steve Blake (abdominal surgery) out with injury.  With 15 players under contract (unless the team finds a trade), the Lakers will need to cut someone to make room.

Rookie center Robert Sacre and Johnson-Odom are the only two Lakers playing without guaranteed contracts.  Sacre is a hard-working practice player and enthusiastic teammate.  Johnson-Odom has shown enough in the D-League to suggest he's a project worth developing.

The Lakers need to improve somehow but Johnson-Odom may have given the team some significant pause when it comes to opening up a roster spot.


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Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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