Los Angeles Lakers: Jordan Clarkson Shines Brightest In the Vegas Lights

By Allen Yates
Getty Images
Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers made a quiet move during the draft weeks ago. They traded with the Washington Wizards, who had only one pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Lakers traded $1.8 million in cash considerations for the rights to the 46th overall selection. Considering the cash spent, the Lakers seemed to be very pleased with that decision. The Lakers selected Jordan Clarkson, a Tulsa transfer who finished his college career at Missouri.

The one-time Tiger was set to play alongside the much heralded Kentucky star Julius Randle. While Randle didn’t play opening night of summer league, Clarkson was there for the duration. Randle came in to Summer League with all the hype, but Clarkson was the brightest star in those Vegas summer lights.

Clarkson displayed what I wrote about earlier, a point guard with size and athleticism and a great feel for the game. Clarkson dazzled spectators in each of the Lakers’ five outings, showing off his athleticism and effortless drives to the basket. Clarkson simply got wherever he wanted to on the court due to his size. He also displayed great effort on the defensive side of the ball, always being in the right spot and always in the passing lanes.

Clarkson led the Lakers Summer League team in scoring and rebounding, with 15.8 points per game and five rebounds a game. Clarkson showed out in Sin City, where he registered his most memorable moment. Late in the game against the once undefeated Golden State Warriors Summer League team, Clarkson had a game-winning tip in off a Randle miss to snap a win streak that the Warriors were riding. He finished the game with 19 points and seven rebounds.

Clarkson then vaulted his team to another win against the Denver Nuggets, scoring seven points in the fourth and five in the last 2:25 to secure a win. Clarkson shot a low clip from the field overall, at 42.2 percent, but shot 42.4 percent from three-point land. Shooting was viewed as a need for improvement for Clarkson, but now is viewed as an increasing strength for him.

His backcourt mate, and Lakers starter just a season ago, Kendall Marshall was soon waived shortly after Summer League ended. The Lakers thought they could maybe sign him back if he cleared waivers, but the Milwaukee Bucks claimed him.

This is good news to Clarkson, who after his showing in Sin City, should see back up minutes at point guard while newly acquired Jeremy Lin needs rest. Yes, Hall of Fame Steve Nash is still on the roster, but with his diminishing health it’s unsure just how much time Nash will get to see during the upcoming season.

Early signs point to a great front office decision for the Lakers, who may have found a productive steal in the second round. Jordan Clarkson looks to be money well spent for the Lakers, who has been productive in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Allen Yates is a blog writer for the Los Angeles Lakers on RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @Yizzus_, “like him” on Facebook, or add him to your network on google

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