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27 Teams In 27 Days: Meet The South Bay Lakers

By Jake Winderman | September 12, 2018

Team: South Bay Lakers

First Season: 2006-2007 (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Affiliate: Los Angeles Lakers

Location: El Segundo, California

Arena: UCLA Health Training Center

Head Coach: Coby Karl

Former Franchise Names: Los Angeles D-Fenders (2006-2017)

2017-2018 Finish: 29-21 (1st in Pacific), Lost in Western Conference Finals

2017-2018 Accolades: Thomas Bryant (All-NBA G League First Team/NBA G League All-Rookie Team), Alex Caruso (All-NBA G League Second Team)

2018 NBA G League 1st Round Pick(s): 4th (From Maine)

Current Two-Way Players: Alex Caruso (Texas A&M) and Travis Wear (UCLA)

Notable Alumni: Andre Ingram, Jordan Farmar, Vander Blue, Thomas Bryant, Alex Caruso, Josh Hart, Gary Payton II, Stephen Zimmerman, Ivica Zubac, Jeff Ayres, Joe Crawford, Gerald Green, Jamario Moon, Ish Smith, Jamaal Tinsley, Shawne Williams

The South Bay Lakers debuted as the Los Angeles D-Fenders during the 2006-2007 NBA G League season and were the first team in league history to be fully owned and operated by an NBA team (Los Angeles Lakers). In 2006, South Bay held a name-the-team contest to decide on their nickname out of 64 different options. Out of the two finalists, D-Fenders was chosen over the “Breakers.”

Between 2006 and 2017, the team played as the Los Angeles D-Fenders, making the playoffs in 5 of their 10 seasons as the D-Fenders. The Lakers’ franchise qualified for the 2012 and 2016 NBA G League Finals before dropping series to Austin and Sioux Falls.

Early in the team’s history, the South Bay Lakers would play doubleheaders with their NBA affiliate, the Los Angeles Lakers, either before or after L.A.’s games at the Staples Center. In 2007, Jordan Farmar became the first player in NBA history to play in an NBA G League and NBA game in the same day. Coby Karl, the current head coach of South Bay, became the second player to do so a season later with the Lakers.

The South Bay Lakers have had 13 players named to All-NBA G League teams in their franchise history and have had 21 players receive NBA Call-Ups. South Bay’s most recent call-up, Andre Ingram, is the NBA G League’s all-time leader in three-pointers made. Ingram made quite the splash in his NBA debut, scoring 19 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc in front of a roaring Staples Center crowd. Ingram spent 384 games and 10 seasons in the NBA G League before finally receiving his first NBA Call-Up.

This past season, the Lakers lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Austin Spurs. Thomas Bryant was named to the All-NBA G League First Team and NBA G League All-Rookie Team, while two-way player Alex Caruso earned All-NBA G League Second Team honors. South Bay finished the season ranked second in three-point percentage, third in field-goal percentage and fourth in assists per game.

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