One reason for the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles this season has been lack of cohesiveness with players constantly being in and out of the lineup due to injuries, coronavirus (COVID-19) and a number of other factors.
The Lakers have had to look outside the organization to field a roster multiple times during the season, and at one point they turned to veteran point guard Darren Collison.
Collison previously retired from the NBA after the 2019 season, but flirted with the idea of coming back to play for his hometown Lakers on a couple of occasions in the last two years.
He finally signed a 10-day contract with the Lakers just before Christmas of this season when a number of players were out with COVID and the NBA was allowing hardship contracts so teams didn’t have to cancel or postpone games.
The 34-year-old only ended up playing limited minutes in three games for the Lakers, which obviously wasn’t enough to get in any sort of rhythm after not seeing NBA action for almost three years.
It appears Collison has stayed in shape and still wants to make an NBA comeback, and the Lakers are helping him to do that by signing him to their G League affiliate South Bay Lakers, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Sources: Free agent guard Darren Collison is joining the Los Angeles Lakers’ G League affiliate – South Bay Lakers (17-9) – in hopes of helping lead the No. 2 seed to a G League title as well as earning a call-up to an NBA team.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 22, 2022
Playing with South Bay will give Collison a chance to get back in the rhythm of pro ball while also showcasing what he can still do to teams across the league, including the Lakers who will get to see it up close.
South Bay is in the midst of a very successful season, sitting in second place in the Western Conference at 17-9. They’ve received strong play from some familiar faces like Mason Jones, Mac McClung, Paris Bass and Chaundee Brown, so hopefully Collison can mesh with that group and spread his knowledge of the game to those young players as they pursue a G League title.
Augustin coming off best game
Another player the Lakers have brought in to fill a similar role as Collison as a backup point guard is D.J. Augustin. The veteran who was signed a few weeks ago had his best game with the Lakers on Monday night, scoring 20 points and making all seven of his shot attempts, six from 3-point range, in the Lakers’ victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After the game, he credited his teammates for getting him open looks.
“Playing with Bron and Russ, people are double-teaming them and running guys at them for no reason,” he said. “There’s a reason, but running at them. They’re basically just leaving us open to catch and shoot or swing, swing different options.
“We put in the work to be ready for those opportunities and like I said, they’re so unselfish. You just have to be ready to knock them down.”
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