Robert Upshaw was one of the Los Angeles Lakers' last cuts as they trimmed their roster to 15 players towards the end of the preseason, but the undrafted rookie is still optimistic about making the team this year. Upshaw, who told Silver Screen and Roll "I've never worked this hard in my life," says he still believes he will be called up to the Lakers' roster this season.
"Oh definitely. That's part of the reason why I'm still here," says Upshaw when asked if he still feels the same as he did in the preseason when guaranteeing he would make the Lakers. "I'm making it the goal to be on this Lakers team. It's the greatest team in basketball history with 16 championships... I want to be a part of that, I want to be a part of the championship winning teams and games, so I feel like I have to do what I have to do to stay here and work through everything to be a part of this team."
Los Angeles D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens thinks Upshaw does have a chance to get called up, but cautioned that Upshaw's career path will not be finalized this season.
"The decision on Robert Upshaw is not going to be made this year," says Owens. "Maybe a team will call him up and maybe take a look at him, which I think is very possible, but he's a work in progress and I think he's only going to get better."
Since returning from a viral illness that sidelined him about a month, Upshaw has gotten better in every game. The rookie has played more minutes and scored more points in each contest since returning, culminating in a career high 16 points in 19 minutes against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Saturday night. The D-Fenders next take on the Idaho Stampede on Monday night at 6:00 PM PST.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.