I didn’t expect much from the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the D-League (how clever!) after seeing the Anaheim Arsenal and the Bakersfield Jam logos, but this is even worse than expected. However, before you slam this logo too hard, you have to ask yourself, what is the mission of the D-Fenders? What do the Lakers expect out of their minor league franchise?
The Lakers will be using the D-Fenders almost solely as a developmental tool. The team will be playing at the Staples Center either before or after Lakers games, kind of like a junior varsity high school squad. I haven’t quite figured out the details yet, but I would assume that somehow they will work it so that if you have a Lakers ticket for that night, you can attend the D-Fenders game for free.
Because of this, unlike the Arsenal or Jam, the D-Fenders don’t necessarily have to have a unique, creative identity to market themselves. Attention and attendance is not going to be an issue. The Lakers don’t expect the D-Fenders to cultivate their own fan base. They are banking that this will be a great way to develop talent under a hand picked coaching staff, and as a bonus, give diehard Laker fans something extra to care about.
So even though this is an atrocious name and logo, it doesn’t really mean jack squat. The Arsenal and Jam’s decision to go cheapo could very well impact their future. The only thing that will affect the D-Fender’s future is if the Lakers decide that developing their own players on their own team is worth the investment.
My guess is that the answer will be a resounding “yes” and the D-Fenders will ultimately be the model franchise for the D-League both on the court and in the stands. All the while the Jam and Arsenal will hemorrhage money in front of 400 fans a game and be lucky to play a second season.