Under rookie head coach Luke Walton, the Los Angeles Lakers embarked on a 2016-17 season, filled with plenty of ups and downs, but also progression towards improvement. With the young core taking in lessons each and every day, the Lakers move onward in an attempt to build that cohesion an NBA roster needs to be successful.
Tuesday’s 117-113 loss to the Charlotte Hornets was yet another example of the rigors of the NBA. After a season-high 73 points in the first half, the third quarter saw their massive lead slowly chip away. The fourth quarter was a constant battle, as the Hornets were able to make key plays to get the victory.
Although the Lakers lost the contest, it is all about learning from their mistakes and growing as a team. Guard Jordan Clarkson, the ‘elder’ player of the young core, had perhaps his best game of the season in a losing effort.
The third-year guard finished the game with 25 points, on 9-for-13 shooting (7-for-9 on three-pointers), with three rebounds and five assists. Clarkson’s hot shooting sparked the Lakers from the get go, as the Lakers broke out for 41 points in the first quarter.
His seven three-pointers were a career-high, as the 24-year-old’s shot seems to have improved drastically. After the game, Clarkson stated that he has been putting in a hectic amount of work to improve his shot, via Serena Winters of LakersNation.com:
Jordan Clarkson also said he’s been in the gym every night working on his 3-point shot, building back up that confidence (on @SpectrumSN)
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) December 21, 2016
Clarkson’s noted improvement can be statistically seen, as his shot has been constantly improving. Upon shooting 22.2 and 33.3 percent from three-point range in October and November respectively, the Florida native took a huge jump to 39.6 percent in the month of December.
That improvement has raised his season average to 35 percent, which would be a career-high. Over his last three games, Clarkson has impressively knocked down 13 of his 20 three-point attempts.
As a part of the second unit, Clarkson has flourished off the bench and is looked at as a scoring option alongside Lou Williams. However, Walton recently stated that he wants Clarkson to find a better balance between scoring and play making.
On the season, Clarkson is averaging 14.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 28.6 minutes per game.