David Nwaba grew up in Southern California idolizing Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, and Tuesday night, the 6-foot-4 guard will realize a life-long dream of suiting up for his favorite team.
Nwaba, who went undrafted out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2016 and has never played in the NBA, signed a 10-day contract with the Lakers and will be in uniform for Tuesday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center.
“It’s pretty crazy growing up a Lakers fans and dreaming about this day, and it’s finally happening,” Nwaba, a former Los Angeles University High standout, said after Tuesday’s shoot-around. “It’s a great feeling.”
Nwaba joins the Lakers from the team’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, where he averaged 13.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks in 38 games.
Known for his feisty defense, Nwaba had been particularly effective in his last 10 games, averaging 21.1 points on 65.6% shooting, 8.9 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks in 34.2 minutes.
Asked what he can bring to a team that has allowed an average of 110.9 points a game, fourth-worst in the league, Nwaba said: “My defense. I think that’s why they’re interested in me. I’m gonna play hard, make the hustle plays and see what I can do when I get the opportunity.”
Nwaba, 24, was enjoying an off-day Monday afternoon when he was called into the Lakers’ El Segundo practice facility by D-Fenders Coach Coby Karl.
“I actually thought he wanted me to work a Boys & Girls [Club] clinic, so that was going through my mind,” Nwaba said. “The Lakers [executives and coaches] were there and told me the good news. I was shocked … and very happy.”
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