David Fizdale Reveales Darren Collison Got ‘Really High Consideration’ To Make Lakers’ 2021-22 Roster In Summer
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Several players made their season debuts for the Los Angeles Lakers in December, most recently Stanley Johnson and Darren Collison in the Christmas Day loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

Johnson impressed on Saturday, putting in a great effort on the defensive end in over 27 minutes on the floor. He finished the night with seven points, one rebound, one steal and one assist.

Collison’s NBA return was far less spectacular. He failed to make any of his three field-goal attempts and played for just 12 minutes after quickly raking in three personal fouls.

However, Lakers interim head coach David Fizdale pointed out Collison “came right from home” to play for L.A. on Christmas Day, returning to the league for the first time since the 2018-19 season.

Fizdale added the veteran guard worked out for the Lakers in the summer and “got really high consideration” to make the team’s 2021-22 roster back then.

“And he looked fantastic for a guy that’s been out,” the coach said. “He played a ton of pickup with our guys so we got a really good look at him, and obviously he is a perennial pro, man. He just kept himself in shape, his approach to the game and his attitude towards the game is phenomenal.”

Fizdale also told a heartwarming story of Collison telling his new teammates that he didn’t expect he would play Christmas Day basketball again.

“I just gave the guys a corny speech about gratitude and how you never know where you may end up, and I used my own example as a guy here [coaching] and Darren Collison looked at me and said ‘yeah, me too. Two years ago, I never thought I’d be playing on Christmas Day’ [laughs],” Fizdale said.

“So for him, I’m really excited for him and he’s such a professional guy. Being a UCLA guy and all of that stuff is just really cool.”

Johnson: Lakers helped me fall in love with basketball

Johnson’s dream came true on Christmas Day when he finally played his first game for the Lakers, a team he grew up watching and cheering on.

After his debut, the forward said L.A. was one of the reasons he found his passion for basketball.

“When you think about basketball for me, one of the things that helped me fall in love with basketball was watching the Lakers play,” Johnson said.

“I think being able to play for the Lakers and on this day, it’s a special day in the NBA. It’s something that I’ll remember for a long time.”

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