After two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Jordan Clarkson will soon decide where his career will go next. Clarkson, who had a strong season in his second year in the NBA, could be in for a big payday with the cap rising this summer. However, despite the fact that he will garner a lot of attention this summer, Clarkson seems content with staying in Los Angeles and re-signing with the Lakers.
Despite a tough environment this past season in Los Angeles, Clarkson produced when he was given the opportunity. Offensively, he averaged 17.3 points and shot 34.7 percent from behind the arc. However, his defense was unsurprisingly under constant scrutiny from Byron Scott, who rarely let D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle or Clarkson get away with lapses on that end of the floor. Still, there is no doubt that Clarkson has been well worth the second-round NBA draft pick that was used to select him.
Now, after his impressive season, Clarkson has made it clear that he wants to stay with the Lakers according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
“I feel confident I’ll be back here. I want to be here. I want to be one of those guys that is not bouncing around from team to team. I want to be somewhere where I can come home and leave my mark or legacy or somewhere I can call home. I feel like this is the place I can do that.”
Clarkson clearly likes where the Lakers are headed, and sees Los Angeles as a perfect fit as he continues to develop. The Lakers also have plenty of assets around him, and their new head coach may be the biggest asset of them all.
According to ESPN, the recent addition of Luke Walton could be one of the main reasons Clarkson chooses to stay, and he seems intrigued with the uptempo style of play Walton will bring over from the Golden State Warriors. This would be a significant change from last year’s Lakers team that finished No. 16 in pace, and the new style bodes well for Clarkson’s production.
Additionally, Walton has also become familiar with coaching two elite backcourt players in Golden State, and that experience could be useful in the development of both Clarkson and Russell. With the Warriors, both Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry have made huge strides in Walton’s time under Steve Kerr.
However, Clarkson and Russell do not fit together as well as Curry and Thompson, and a more traditional shooting guard may prove to be what the Lakers need next to Russell. This year, it was quite clear that Russell, like Clarkson, needs the ball in his hands to be most effective. Consequently, Clarkson is forced to play off of the ball more at the shooting guard position, which makes it tougher for him to succeed given his skills offensively. On the other end of the floor, the duo will continue to struggle containing other backcourt units. Neither player is strong defensively, making it an especially questionable move to give Clarkson a long-term deal.
Of course, there is always the option of staggering the minutes of Russell and Clarkson. However, with the cap increasing, it will take a substantial sum of money to retain Clarkson this summer. Instead, finding a better fit next to Russell will most likely turn out to be a better option, even if Clarkson wants to return to Los Angeles.
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