Heading into the 2014 NBA Draft, all the attention for the Los Angeles Lakers was on the team’s seventh overall pick, Julius Randle. However, the Lakers also acquired Jordan Clarkson from the Washington Wizards with the 46th overall pick.
While Randle suffered a season-ending leg injury against the Houston Rockets, he has recently been watching from the bench and traveling with the team. According to the Lakers official Twitter account, Randle shared his thoughts on his fellow rookie teammate:
Randle on fellow rookie Laker Jordan Clarkson: “I’m a big fan of guys’ mindsets, and Jordan doesn’t back down from anybody.”
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 2, 2015
While Clarkson has gradually improved this season with the help of Steve Nash, the rookie has taken his game to another level recently. In his past five games, Clarkson is averaging 19.2 points (52 percent shooting), 5.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists in 36.2 minutes.
Although the Lakers are headed to the NBA lottery for the second consecutive season, they have two young prospects in Randle and Clarkson who will help the rebuilding process. While Randle only played one game this season, he has used this opportunity to learn the game and is expected to be ready for Summer League.
Armed with potentially four picks in this year’s draft and $28 million in cap space to pursue free agents, the Lakers look to rebuild themselves into championship contenders over the next two off-seasons. While the franchise was unable to land big-name free agents last summer, head coach Byron Scott revealed that players have expressed interest in playing for him during games.[divide]