Almost every member of the Los Angeles Lakers disappointed in the team’s season-opening loss to the LA Clippers, but Jordan Clarkson was one of the few exceptions.
The fourth-year guard was the team’s second-leading scorer with 18 points off of the bench, and he did so on relatively efficient 7-16 shooting while racking up 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks as well.
According to Clarkson, it’s exactly the type of production he’s aiming for this season. “I feel like that’s my role coming off the bench. In the time I’m out there, I have to be aggressive, score and make plays,” Clarkson said after the game.
Clarkson did all of those things and more against the Clippers, and if the Lakers can get this type of production out of him all season they’ll probably be fairly pleased.
The Lakers don’t have a ton of players who can create their own shots, and most of them (Lonzo Ball, Brook Lopez and Brandon Ingram) are in the starting lineup.
Clarkson certainly doesn’t have to score 18 points every game, but if he can give the team a dose of instant offense off of the pine then he will serve as a valuable creator in a group of subs that doesn’t have many options for that other than Julius Randle (who has been inconsistent throughout his career) and Kyle Kuzma (who is a rookie and will have growing pains).
Clarkson also generally seemed to be playing under control and making the right plays within the team’s offense too, which will help the Lakers as they look to build continuity with an overhauled roster.
The added positive about Clarkson’s effort against the Clippers was how he scored. There were his typical drives and finishes at the bucket, but Clarkson also knocked down two of his three 3-pointers. If his shot holds up, he’ll be able to help a spacing-starved Lakers offense even more than expected.