After earning All-Rookie First Team honors last season, Jordan Clarkson has been the most consistent player for the Los Angeles Lakers in his sophomore year. Through the first half of the season, Clarkson is averaging 15.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 32.2 minutes per game.
In the 106-102 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Clarkson finished with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. After the game, Kobe Bryant shared his thoughts on the next step in Clarkson’s development via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Kobe (on TWC) said the next step for J Clarkson is to become a great defender: "seems like he has the will to want to become a great player"
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) February 7, 2016
As the 46th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Clarkson has been a pleasant surprise and is participating in two events at All-Star Weekend in Toronto. With Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell the future backcourt of the franchise, the second-year guard has an opportunity to establish himself as a two-way player.
With less than 30 games left in the season, it will be interesting to see if Clarkson accepts the challenge. In a time when point guards are dominating the league, the Lakers need a strong perimeter defender and Bryant thinks Clarkson has the will to do so.
At the end of the season, Clarkson will become a restricted free agent, which means the Lakers will be able to match any offers. In addition, the second-year guard recently expressed his desire to remain in Los Angeles to grow with the young core of Russell, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr.