Los Angeles Lakers: Chuck Daly

PodKast: D-Fenders coach Eric Musselman

October, 29, 2011
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
I'll be honest, I've never really paid the D-League much attention save those moments where players on the Lakers roster were sent down for more seasoning. Even then, I wasn't exactly setting the NBDL's website as my home page. But with labor strife screwing everything up at the NBA level, if your game is professional hoops, for the time being at least the Los Angeles D-Fenders -- back after a year-long hiatus-- are the only game in town.

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Unlike most NBDL coaches, Eric Musselman has extensive experience as the head man on an NBA sideline.

The most interesting thing about this year's team will almost certainly be the coach. In Eric Musselman, they have a head man with an unusual level of NBA experience, having patrolled the sidelines both for Golden State and Sacramento. In his first season with the Warriors, Musselman squeezed a 17-win improvement from the previous season, and he finished second behind Gregg Popovich in the 2003 Coach of the Year balloting. But after failing to build on that success the following year, he was let go. Hired by the Kings in 2006, Musselman had the unenviable task of replacing Rick Adelman.

One 33 win season later, Sacramento fired him.

In many ways, then, Musselman resembles the guys he's coaching: Actively trying to make it back to the next level. When we made the comparison in our conversation, Musselman deflected, but I suspect he (understandably) wasn't being completely candid. It's just one of the subjects we touched on, from the difficulty creating a workable team ethic when ultimately everyone on the roster is motivated by personal goals to the challenges Mike Brown faces this season with the Lakers.

Click here for the whole show, or below if you'd rather steer to a specific topic...

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Kobe Bryant
24.6 4.9 1.4 35.4
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.3
AssistsK. Bryant 4.9
StealsR. Price 1.4
BlocksE. Davis 1.2