The Los Angeles Lakers decided to take D’Angelo Russell with the second pick despite other options available to them. They could have gone for size with a number of big men, or even possibly taken a gamble on a high-risk, high-reward perimeter player. Even with Jordan Clarkson in the mix, they decided to take Russell because they liked his long-term potential, and truly believed that he and Clarkson can have a future together.
While both players have a lot of room to grow, they will be given plenty of playing time in the upcoming season, especially Clarkson.
Clarkson is an athletic combo guard who fell to the second round of the draft last season. Although he did not get much time at the beginning of the year, injuries and a lack of depth thrusted him into extensive playing time and he shined. He was one of the top rookies last season, and utilized his explosiveness to become one of the team’s best scorers.
He can get by defenders with a quick first step and can finish strong at the rim. He has worked a lot on his shooting, but will still need to learn to share the court with other playmakers, such as Kobe Bryant, Lou Williams and Russell. He must also improve on his defense, although he is not the only one on the roster who needs help in that department.
Even with the drafting of Russell and signing of Williams, there will be plenty of minutes to go around as Bryant will need a lot of rest and the only other veteran option is Nick Young. Clarkson has the advantage in that he can play several different positions, and is also the most athletic of the group, giving them a different dimension.
None of the previously mentioned players are great defenders, and although Clarkson is still below average, he may be the best option to match up with some of the top scoring guards in the league. This will test him every night as he must continue to get better at both ends of the court.
The Lakers like what they see so far in Clarkson, and he has a lot of potential to become a valuable player. He has shown a willingness to learn, and his versatility should suit him well as the team will need him on the court next season. He will surely receive a lot of playing time, which will help him grow as a player. He has a bright future ahead of him, and next season could be a breakout year for him if he takes advantage of his situation.