Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson has one of the better stories in the NBA, as he went from being a second-round pick in 2014 to first-team All-Rookie in his first season, and wound up four-year, $50 million extension with the Lakers in the summer of 2016.
Going into this preseason, expectations were high for Clarkson as president of basketball operations Magic Johnson set a goal for him of winning the Sixth Man of the Year award.
Clarkson struggled a bit in the preseason though, leaving fans a little worried about what kind of season he was about to have.
But to Clarkson’s credit, he has gotten off to a very strong start to the season, leading the league in bench scoring with 59 points through three games. After Sunday night’s performance in which Clarkson had 24 points and led a 29-6 run against the New Orleans Pelicans, Lakers head coach Luke Walton complimented him for sticking with it despite his preseason struggles.
“What I am most proud about with Jordan [Clarkson] is he is sticking with it because he was struggling in training camp and with the preseason,” Walton said. “He has just kept working and working and obviously he has had some nice successful nights so far since the season has started.”
Walton also attributed Clarkson’s hard work for him coming out of the slump. “It is like anything, you get more reps at something, you get more comfortable with it, and you trust in what we are trying to do. He is naturally a scorer anyway so he will find his own shots throughout that, but it is good to see him come out the other side of the struggles he was having in the preseason.”
Among the Lakers that have played in all three games so far, Clarkson has been the most consistent scorer, leading the team in scoring at 19.7 points per game while shooting 51.1 percent from the field. If he continues to play the way he has then he will certainly figure into that Sixth Man of the Year conversation.