The 2016-17 season was quite the roller coaster of events for guard David Nwaba, starting the season with the Los Angeles D-Fenders and ending with an impactful role on the Los Angeles Lakers. Nwaba made a name for himself with his hard-nosed approach and constant hustle, earning the respect of head coach Luke Walton and his teammates.
That path didn’t start out as bright as Nwaba may have envisioned, after going undrafted following his college career with Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, the 24-year-old then joined the D-Fenders, catching the attention of organization.
Nwaba’s overall aggressiveness on defense and winning mentality were key characteristics any teammate would encourage. He has always envisioned a simple goal regarding his play on any court, which is to play defense and help his team win.
His defensive efforts have gone noticed by Walton and the Lakers front office, but also by the D-Fenders and the D-League. According to Serena Winters of LakersNation.com, Nwaba has been presented two awards for his contributions during the 2017 season:
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) April 26, 2017
During his rookie season with the D-Fenders, Nwaba averaged 14.1 points (on 64.9 percent shooting), along with 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He remained with the D-Fenders throughout much of their regular season, before earning his call-up to join the Lakers.
Nwaba then was given a chance with that 10-day contract, making the most of the situation. By the end of his second 10-day contract, he was awarded a two-year deal with the Lakers, establishing a future in the NBA.
However, Nwaba would also return to the D-Fenders for their playoff run, as a key member of one of the most dynamic D-League teams. The athletic guard saw his production increase dramatically in the playoffs, with some NBA experience under his belt.
During the D-Fenders’ three playoff games, he averaged 23.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 37.7 minutes per game. Although Nwaba is capable of making offensive contributions, his bread and butter relied upon his persistent defensive approach and willingness to help his team in any way possible.
With Nwaba planning on playing in the NBA Summer League, it will only provide him another opportunity to prove to Walton and the Lakers that he belongs in the NBA.