I will be completely honest, even though the Lakers were rumored to want to acquire a 2nd round pick I did not think they would be able to do so. I thought their night was over after selecting Julius Randle 7th overall. I was wrong.
Mid-way through the 2nd round, the Lakers found a team willing to dump their 2nd rounder and acquired the 46th pick in the draft from the Washington Wizards for cash considerations. With the Lakers on the clock, they selected Missouri point guard Jordan Clarkson.
I don’t know much about Clarkson. A survey of his Draft Express page tells me that he’s a big point guard, standing 6’5″ in shoes with a more than respectable 6’8″ wingspan. He is good athlete, showing off an ability to finish above the rim when in the open court and through contact when the lane is crowded. Considering he also flashes a nice burst off the dribble due to his quickness, he looks to be a solid attack-style guard who can find his niche as guy who looks to get to the lane with the ball in his hands and a slasher when working off it.
All in all, I am happy with this pick for a variety of reasons. First, the Lakers need players to compete in camp and while they used resources to acquire this pick if he doesn’t pan out the team is only out some money. Considering the Lakers almost print money from the combination of their TV deal and gate receipts, this investment isn’t but a drop in the bucket when it comes to their overall resources. Second, however, is that this kid really looks like he has the physical tools that, if developed through hard work, can find a way to stick in the NBA.
A player with his combination of quickness and size is a nice template for a backcourt player in this league, especially if he can initiate an offense. If he can improve the accuracy on his jumper it will allow him to use his raw physical gifts to his advantage and find a role in the league as an off the bounce creator who can create his own shot against smaller counterparts.
Of course, all of that is far down the line. He must show that with his physical tools comes an ability to pick up the mental aspects of the game, take to coaching, and put in the work needed to improve in his weak areas. If he really will be a point guard, he must improve on his ability to create for others and show better instincts for making plays that help his teamates thrive. Further, he will need to show that his size and quickness that he deploys to his advantage offensively can be converted into defensive ability as well.
There is a lot of work to do, then. But, he will have his shot.
After he was drafted Mitch Kupchak mentioned that he was higher on their draft board than the 46th best prospect in this draft which lines up with Draft Express ranking him 31st on their board. If he can play more like a fringe first rounder, rather than a middling 2nd round pick, the Lakers may have just found them a player. Time will tell.
In any event, here are a couple of clips to get you familiar with Clarkson. The first is a clip of a pre-draft workout and interview where Clarkson is refining some of the skills he will need to have as a lead guard in this league. The second is full scouting report from Draft Express. Enjoy.