A couple of days ago, I talked about Kyle Anderson making the transition from his rookie to sophomore year. Now we look at another member of the 2014 NBA Draft, Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson was selected in the 2nd round, 46th overall by the Washington Wizards, but was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers on draft night. When training camp started, he was the 4th string point guard behind Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin and Ronnie Price.
It was a roller coaster season for the Lakers from the start. Before opening night, Steve Nash pinched a nerve in his back resulting in him missing the entire season and eventually retiring from the NBA. As for the other two guys that were ahead of him on the season depth chart, Lin struggled leading the team cause him to be in and out of the lineup, while Ronnie Price fractured his elbow causing him to miss the rest of the season. It was unfortunate to see that happen but it opened up a window for Clarkson to show what he is made of.
Clarkson averaged: 11.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.9 steals & 0.2 blocks in 25.0 minutes per game through 59 games and 38 starts in 2014-2015.
Not bad for a mid 2nd round pick. It is even more impressive that he was originally the fourth point guard on the Lakers, now the potential starter and cornerstone player for years to come. When the season was over, he was selected to the NBA All-Rookie first team, something you don’t really hear of regarding second round selections.
In this past summer league, he continued more steps in the right direction. He averaged 16.8 points, 3.6 rebounds & 2.0 assists in 5 games. Clarkson also had one of the best dunks in the summer league.
That was just one of the many highlights Clarkson had this past summer and I’m sure he will make more noise in his sophomore year. He definitely proved last year that he can be a nightly player in the regular rotation. For this season I expect newly drafted D’Angelo Russell to start at the point guard spot with Kobe Bryant playing shooting guard. With Clarkson’s ability, I could see him back up both guard spots and contribute right away if one of them go down with injury.
Bottom line, the Los Angeles Lakers had one of the worst seasons to date. Nash, Bryant, Price got injured and the Lakers ended up with the #2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Clarkson was one of the few bright spots on the team and showed that 2nd rounders can also make immediate contributions to a team. I really expect him to do great things for the Lakers while playing extended minutes.