Coming into this season expectations had risen for third-year guard Jordan Clarkson after he agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Most assumed he would be starting next to D’Angelo Russell, but head coach Luke Walton felt Clarkson would be better served in a bench role.
Clarkson accepted the role without complaint and has enjoyed a solid start to the season, averaging 14.5 points and 2.2 assists. However, he has struggled shooting the ball in recent games, and his assist numbers have dropped this season.
In an attempt to remind Clarkson of his multiple capabilities, Walton showed Clarkson some videos of himself from his rookie season. Walton told Mark Medina of the OC Register that they know what Clarkson is capable of and just want him to make the right play:
“We know he’s capable of doing it. We also know he’s a very capable scorer,” Walton said.
“We kind of just want him to be in attack mode, but be ready to make the right play each time. Sometimes that’s a shot. Sometimes that’s a pass.”
For his part, Clarkson simply believes that he has to better decide what is a good and bad shot:
“I never think I’m in a shooting struggle; you’re going to miss shots,” Clarkson said. “Coach wants me to be aggressive. That’s what I try to do every night when I’m out there on the floor. But at the same time, I have to figure out what’s a good shot and a bad shot.”
Clarkson went through a stretch where he shot 35 percent or less in four out of five games. Additionally, he has totaled more than four assists only three times in 30 games.
As one of the fastest players in the league, Clarkson regularly gets into the paint almost at will, but he has struggled to finish at times and can force shots when they aren’t necessary. Better balancing his scoring and passing will help the team as a whole as well as his own individual game and that is all Walton wants.