Jordan Farmar has emerged as one of the best young point guards in the NBA. His quickness, toughness, and work ethics have made him a fan favorite. He is a true Angelino and I am proud to see him wearing the legendary Purple and Gold.
Growing up in Woodland Hills as a young man, Jordan Farmar could not have predicted the road his life has gone down.
Farmar started his high school career at Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, before transferring to Taft in Woodland Hills. At Taft, he came into his own as a basketball player, playing tenacious defense as well as an uncanny ability to make everyone on the court better, Farmar got noticed by a number of college coaches. He scored a school record 54 points in a game, and averaged 27.5 points and 6.5 assists per game to lead Taft to their first ever L.A. City Title.
Jordan decided to remain in Los Angeles for college, and chose UCLA, led by Ben Howland. His freshman year, he won the Pac 10 Freshman of the Year. Jordan’s Sophomore year was quite outstanding. He was one of the best Point Guards in the country as he led a dark horse UCLA team all the way to the National Championship Game, where they would fall just short of the school’s 12th Men’s Basketball National Championship.
Jordan shocked a lot of people on April 20, 2006 when he announced that he was going to forgo his last 2 years of college, and declare for the NBA Draft. Scouts did not expect much out of the undersized 6‘2” guard. What happened next, couldn’t have been predicted, Farmar proved to be one of the best athletes in the entire draft. His vertical leap of 42 inches, was the highest of any player at the pre-draft combine.
Still, team after team passed on him. Personally, I was happy, being the big UCLA fan that I am, I was hoping and praying that he would fall all the way to the Lakers. And, he did. I can still remember Commissioner David Stern saying, “With the 26th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select, Jordan Farmar out of UCLA.” I literally jumped out of my chair. I knew Jordan would make an impact eventually, but I never could have predicted how big of an impact he really would make.
His rookie year, Jordan spent most of season on the bench as the back-up to then Lakers starter Smush Parker. Jordan struggled a bit. Using Tex Winter’s triangle system was quite a bit different than the grind it out defensive minded tactics of Ben Howland at UCLA. Jordan was struggling so much, he was sent down to the Lakers minor league club, the L.A. Defenders. There, he got playing time and his confidence began to grow. On April 1st 2007, he became the first player in history to play a game in the D-League, and the NBA in the same day.
With 2 games left in the season, Phil Jackson benched Smush, and Jordan Farmar became the starter. This was somewhat unexpected, as Phil has never been the kind of coach to play rookies. Jordan went on to start 2 games in the regular season, and started all 5 games in the playoffs vs. Steve Nash and the Suns. Jordan Farmar’s performance showed that he was a keeper, and that he was only going to get better.
In the summer of 2007, the Lakers signed Derek Fisher, and drafted Javaris Crittenton. With two more point guards, some like myself wondered how that would effect the young Farmar’s confidence. Instead of crumbling, he worked that much harder, and has become arguably one of the best young Point Guards in the NBA.
Jordan’s energy is extremely well needed as he is one of the spark plugs on the Lakers’ bench. His maximum effort is seen every single time he laces them up. This past Sunday, in an OT game versus the Mavericks, in a playoff atmosphere, Jordan, and not veteran and starting PG Derek Fisher, was in the game as it hung in the balance. That is the kind of confidence that not only Phil Jackson has in him, but the rest of the Lakers as well.
His success this year, could not have been predicted. You could make the argument that he was the MVP of the Rookie – Sophomore Game in New Orleans, as he led the Sophomores to victory. This season, Jordan is averaging 9.6 PPG, 2.7 APG, and 1 SPG, in just over 21 minutes per contest.
Jordan Farmar is a Los Angeles native. He could never have predicted being the L.A. Times Player of the year his senior year of high school, or going to UCLA, having a great short career there, to being drafted by his hometown Lakers. He is certainly living the dream, and I am extremely proud of him.
To win the LA City Title, go on to UCLA, reach the Final 4, and get drafted by the Lakers, that is the life that a lot of Los Angeles kids, yours truly included, can only dream of. His future is indeed bright, and I can’t wait to see how good of a player this young man matures in to.
Some say he is the next Tony Parker. I disagree. I truly and honestly believe he can be better.
The Cougar is a TLN Staff contributor, you can contact him at TheCougar@theLakersNation.com.