Lakers D-League affiliate names second head coach this offseason

Former assistant Casey Owens was announced as the Los Angeles D-Fenders new head coach on Tuesday after the Lakers NBA Developmental League team’s initial choice departed shortly after he was hired.

Conner Henry was tabbed the D-Fenders head coach June 10, but accepted a position on the Orlando Magic coaching staff June 26. Owens, who has coached in China, Venezuela, the NBA D-League and the Continental Basketball Association, was a D-Fenders assistant in 2013-14.

“I want to thank (D-Fenders General Manager) Nick Mazzella, the Buss family and the entire organization for this opportunity,” Owens said. “I am excited to return to El Segundo and the NBA Development League and look forward to the challenge of helping assemble a team that will compete for a championship.”

Phil Hubbard lasted just one season as the D-Fenders head coach, finishing fourth in the West Division with a 17-33 record last year. The previous season, during which Owens was an assistant, the D-Fenders won the West Division with a 31-19 record before being swept out of the playoffs in the first round by a Santa Cruz Warriors team for which Hubbard was an assistant. Four D-Fenders earned call-ups during the 2013-14 campaign, including Manny Harris and Shawne Williams, who joined the Lakers.

“Casey has a bright mind for the game and is an excellent communicator,” Mazzella said. “His work ethic and knack for developing players will be an asset to the organization, and we are confident in his ability to create a positive and winning culture.”

Owens was the head coach of Guaiqueries in the Venezuelan Professional League for the 2012-13 season and spent 2011-12 as an assistant coach for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Owens’ D-League experience consists of an assistant coaching position with the Colorado 14ers from 2007-09. The 14ers won the 2009 D-League championship. Nine players earned call-ups to the NBA in Owens’ two seasons with Colorado and seven players were named all-stars.