As the D-Fenders strut into the All-Star break with a league-best 27-8 record, the team’s core will look to put its talents on further display in New Orleans this weekend.
Los Angeles will have three players competing in Saturday’s D-League All-Star Game (11:30 a.m. PT, NBA TV), while the D-Fenders’ coaching staff will direct the Western Conference.
The D-Fenders’ trio is led by the D-League’s top-ranked prospect, Vander Blue, who drilled a game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds left in L.A.’s last game against Austin on Sunday.
Blue’s third straight trip to the All-Star Game is much-deserved considering he ranks third in the league in scoring (25.2 ppg). Blue — who has 3,741 points in his career — has also made it a historic year, as he needs only 18 to become the D-League’s fourth-highest scorer of all-time.
Likewise, backcourt mate Josh Magette has also shot into the league’s record books, as he currently has the eighth-most assists ever (1,086). A training camp invite for the Atlanta Hawks, Magette is on pace to lead the D-League in assists for the second straight year with 9.4 per game.
This will be the three-year veteran’s first All-Star appearance, and it comes after being named D-League Performer of the Week for averaging 24.0 points, 8.3 assists and 6.8 rebounds and leading L.A. to a 3-1 record.
Rounding out the trio is Justin Harper, who will make it two All-Star Games in two seasons for the D-Fenders. The 6-foot-10 power forward is averaging 16.2 points and 7.1 rebounds while proving indispensable in small-ball lineups.
Harper — who was called up by the Detroit Pistons last year — has punished opposing bigs with his ability to shoot from deep, as he ranks seventh in the D-League in made 3-pointers (77).
Finally, Coby Karl will be at the reins of the team thanks to his success in his first season as a head coach at any level. Karl — who was playing in the D-League just two years ago — earned the honor due to Los Angeles holding a two-game lead in the Western Conference standings.
Karl will be joined by his assistants: Paul Woolpert (who served as interim coach while Karl awaited the birth of his daughter), Brian Walsh and Isaiah Fox.