David Nwaba is in for what head coach Luke Walton called an “AAU-style” weekend.
Immediately after the Lakers’ win in San Antonio on Wednesday, Nwaba hopped in a car and made the three-and-a-half hour drive to Hidalgo, Texas, for Game 1 of the Los Angeles D-Fenders’ playoff series against Rio Grande Valley.
Considering the alignment of the Lakers’ and D-Fenders’ schedules, Nwaba could theoretically play six days in a row from Thursday through Tuesday.
The likelihood of that is uncertain considering that Walton would like to keep his player fresh, especially considering how important he has been to the Lakers’ defense.
“It doesn’t seem like he cares about anything but winning and playing defense,” Walton said at Thursday’s practice. “… He’s so committed to what he’s doing on the defensive end for us that it’s really clear to see what the game is like when he’s out there and he’s not.”
Nwaba was the defensive leader for L.A. against the Spurs, as Walton said that rewatching the game was “one of the most enjoyable film (sessions) I’ve seen all year.”
Walton was also impressed with the defensive impact of Tyler Ennis and Metta World Peace, specifically how the Lakers defended the pick-and-roll even after San Antonio set its plays up with plenty of passing beforehand.
With only four games left in the season, Walton was happy to give World Peace — his former teammate and the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year — some floor time.
“Metta’s been so good for us all year that if I get the opportunity to reward him with playing time, especially this late in the season, I’m going to try to find him some minutes,” Walton said.
World Peace was able to get his opportunity after Brandon Ingram sat the final three quarters against San Antonio due to patellar tendinitis.
Ingram practiced on Thursday and is considered probable for Friday’s meeting with Sacramento. Meanwhille, D’Angelo Russell (sore left knee) and Jordan Clarkson (left knee contusion) are listed as questionable.