Despite missing the playoffs for the second straight year and posting the worst record in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers still had some success during the year when it came to the development of Jordan Clarkson.
Expectations were low for Clarkson after being a second round selection, but once inserted into the starting lineup, he posted up great numbers and played with poise. He won Rookie of the Month in March and finished seventh in Rookie of the Year voting. Head coach Byron Scott sees a lot in Clarkson and believes he can grow into something better. In an appearance on TWC SportsNet, he talked about the areas Clarkson needs to improve:
Still has to get better on the defensive end. Got to get stronger. You know, all things we had to do as rookies as well. He has a big time upside. I really believe that because he’s so athletic and he’s so quick and he could shoot the ball from distance. Now, it’s just working on that mid-range game. That two, three dribble pull-up, a little bit what Russell [Westbrook] does.”
Scott also discussed Clarkson’s importance to the team as it could make some changes during the off-season:
Next year, depending on what we do with everything, we’re still looking for him to be a big part of what we do next year as well.”
The Lakers could use some backcourt help and have the opportunity in the draft and free agency to acquire some talent. The team will learn where their protected top-five draft pick lands during the lottery Tuesday and could draft D’Angelo Russell or Emmanuel Muiday. Goran Dragic and Rajon Rondo are also available on the free agent market.
Whatever the Lakers plan to do, it appears they have Clarkson in mind. As the season ended, Scott mentioned the team was going to build with Clarkson and not around him.[divide]
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