The 2016-17 season turned into a learning experience for the young core of the Los Angeles Lakers, attempting to gel alongside each other while individually growing their games. It also sometimes meant adjusting their role with the team, as was the case with Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson saw his role vary throughout the season, fresh off his four-year, $50 million deal. The contract was a testament to the hard work the second-rounder put in, with the next stepping-stone involving producing within his role.
Head coach Luke Walton had Clarkson begin the season coming off the bench alongside Lou Williams. When Williams was traded Clarkson became the primary scorer off the bench before joining the starting lineup late in the season as a point guard, moving D’Angelo Russell to the shooting guard position.
The 25-year-old has been mentioned in trade talks throughout the offseason, with his contract turning into an enticing asset with the ever-expanding NBA salary cap. Although Clarkson understands the rumors around NBA circles, he continues improving and is enjoying the moment, via Mark Medina of the O.C. Register:
“I try to keep my nose down and keep grinding,” Clarkson said. “I keep working and having fun.”
Entering the offseason, Clarkson was determined to improve the use of his left hand. He is one of the young emerging Lakers that voluntarily is seen at their facility, working alongside the coaching staff.
While every player always has room for improvement, the coaching staff has to admire the determination. Clarkson seems focused on taking his game to the next level, while also confining to Walton and the system. When a young player understands that some situations are out of their hands, they begin the maturation process required in the NBA and continue working on every asset of their game.
It was reported in early June that the Lakers were listening to offers for Clarkson, as a young guard that has the ability to score and is on a nice contract. Last year Clarkson averaged 14.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals in his third season.