The Los Angeles Lakers had two of the better scoring bench players in the league last season in Lou Williams, who they traded to the Houston Rockets before the trade deadline, and Jordan Clarkson.
Despite the play off the bench, it did not necessarily translate into wins as the Lakers went 26-56 and missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
With Williams no longer on the team, Clarkson is the undisputed sixth man of the Lakers this season and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson believes he can win Sixth Man of the Year.
While Clarkson also has that goal for himself, he is prioritizing team victories over winning that award, via Chris McGee of Spectrum SportsNet:
JC “All the 6th man of the year award talk doesn’t mean anything unless you winning” said Lou scoring 18 a game but if losing doesn’t matter
— Chris Geeter McGee (@geeter3) September 27, 2017
Lakers head coach Luke Walton echoed Johnson’s thoughts but is also focused on continued growth for Clarkson, which will lead to winning, via Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell:
Walton said Clarkson has the talent to be in Sixth Man of the Year convos (as Magic suggested) but is more focused on continued growth.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 27, 2017
Clarkson is heading into his fourth season with the Lakers after being drafted in the second round in 2014. There has been a lot of talk about how hard Clarkson has worked this summer and that could lead to a career season for the 25-year-old.
Last season was his first coming off the bench and he averaged 14.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 29.2 minutes, so he will look to expand on those numbers this season in what could be an even more expanded role.