Jamaal Franklin Shining For The Los Angeles D-Fenders


The Los Angeles D-Fenders picked up their 14th win of the season on Saturday against the Idaho Stampede 122-110. They rebounded from a 13-point first-half deficit. Los Angeles was led by D-League’s number seven prospect Vander Blue who erupted for a season-high 40 points. He’s scored 30-plus points in five straight games.

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Blue has been phenomenal for L.A. He’s elevated his game to another level, since leading scorer Jabari Brown was called up the by Los Angeles Lakers. Brown has played very well in his short time with the purple and gold. His efforts were rewarded with a second 10-day contract.

Another prospect that we should be paying attention to is Jamaal Franklin. In 16 games with the D-Fenders, he’s averaging 19.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 50-percent from the field. He’s the only player in the D-League with those averages. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard has a nice all-around game which can translate well in the NBA.

The 23-year-old has rapidly climbed the D-League charts. Currently he is the second highest rated prospect on the board. It’s amazing how quickly he acclimated himself with the team philosophy. He joined the D-Fenders on January 21, 2015 via waiver claim.

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  • In the short time he’s been with the Lakers’ affiliate, he’s earned eight double-doubles and a triple-double. Four times he’s been an assist or rebound away from a triple-dub. He asserted himself as the first man off the bench for the club and immediately made his presence known. With Brown with the Lakers, he’s now the unquestioned starter.

    The D-Fenders are 14-31 this season. They may have had a different record if Franklin, Blue, Brown and Roscoe Smith were together at the beginning of the campaign. These four prospects would have been fun to watch together on the court.

    Franklin was drafted in 2013 by the Memphis Grizzlies. He was selected 41st from San Diego State. His stay in Memphis was brief as he ended up on multiple assignments with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for the 2013-14 season.

    Currently he is the second highest rated prospect on the board.

    In October of 2014 he signed in China for three months with the Zhejiang Lions. He averaged 28 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He eventually left China to resume his NBA career with the D-Fenders. In the D-League, Franklin has found his niche on the court. He’s evolved his game as a multi-purpose player and NBA scouts are taking notice.

    With the flurry of injuries the Lakers had to endure this season, they could have used any of their prospects sitting in their minor league system. Franklin has played well enough to garner a second look in the NBA. The NBA season is coming to a close and it may be too late for Franklin to receive a 10-day contract. It’s still not out of the question for him to get called up.

    I can’t imagine any of the aforementioned players not being on an NBA roster next season. They will at least latch onto a training camp roster. Roscoe and Jabari were on the Lakers training camp early in the season. Blue played on eight different teams in 2014 before landing with the D-Fenders. Franklin aims to have a better showing in the NBA if he gets a second chance.

    For a Laker team that is in rebuild mode, perhaps all four end up with the purple and gold next year. Los Angeles could have as many as four draft picks in the 2015 draft, a returning Julius Randle and a promising Jordan Clarkson. The Lakers future could be bright.