The Los Angeles Lakers are seemingly done filling out their roster after a rather subpar summer of acquisitions. One of the last moves that the team will make is securing their 46th overall selection, Jordan Clarkson, to their roster.
Acquiring the pick from the Washington Wizards, Los Angeles was able to find a quality player late in the 2014 NBA Draft. Clarkson was pegged as one of the top guards coming out of the University of Missouri, but questions about his shooting and decision-making at point guard dropped him to the second round.
Along with Julius Randle, the Lakers were able to walk away from the draft with some great pieces to their rebuilding foundation.
Clarkson is landing in an ideal situation in Los Angeles. With the departure of point guards Jordan Farmar and Kendall Marshall, he will have an opportunity to earn some minutes. Jeremy Lin and Steve Nash are two veterans that can provide the rookie with plenty of mentoring.
During the Summer League, Clarkson showcased an interesting skillset, tailored to the speed and athleticism of NBA point guards. Clarkson’s first game featured a 21-point performance including several finishes at the rim and improved 3-point shooting. The pick and roll was also one of the sets that Clarkson showed skills in making plays.
Offensively, the Lakers will look to take advantage of this opportunity.
To follow up with his big performance, Clarkson posted 16 points against the New Orleans Pelicans and 19 points against the Golden State Warriors. He displayed chemistry with Julius Randle, feeding him on fast breaks and operating in high-low sets. To top off his performance against Golden State, Clarkson tipped in the game-winning basket.
At the end of Summer League, Clarkson was Los Angeles’ leading scorers in all five of their contests at 15.8 points per game (better than Dante Exum, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins). He also shot 42.4 percent from the field, and a surprising 42.1 percent from 3-point range.
His overall performance impressed many onlookers and coaches in Las Vegas, including Mark Madsen. Madsen, Lakers assistant and Summer League head coach, had this to say about Clarkson:
I think Jordan Clarkson had a tremendous summer league. I think he was one of the top players, not only on the Lakers team, but here at the Las Vegas Summer League. I loved Jordan Clarkson;s energy, I loved his enthusiasm for the game and I loved his ability to learn. He learned every set, he learned multiple options out of each set for other positions. That’s a sign of a point guard who’s growing into the position.
With the season beginning in a few months, Clarkson is looking to build on his performances. The 22-year old will look to crack the Lakers rotation during the season. As previously stated, he has a good chance, offering the dynamic of speed and athleticism that fills the NBA point guard position. If he can display the scoring touch that was witnessed over the summer, his role will surely be expanded for a Laker team in search of offensive identity.
All in all, it looks as if Clarkson is the future for Los Angeles at the point guard position, and he will make many teams regret passing up on him in the draft.