Archives For Summer Pro League

After the Lakers lost to the Sixers at Summer League, 83-61, Jordan Clarkson stopped by for a conversation.

Clarkson was asked about his progression in the four Summer League games he’s played.

“I’m trying to get used to the pace of the game. Playing at different speeds.”

He was then asked if he’s shown enough to impress the Lakers front office.

“Yeah, I think so. I’m just coming out here to compete and work hard. I’m trying to do that every time I step on the court.”

Clarkson then talked about playing alongsite Kendall Marshall and was asked if he had to play both guard spots.

“It’s interchangeable. Sometimes, it’s what coach calls. We just kinda rotate on what’s going on the court.”

Jordan raved about his fellow rookie, Julius Randle.

“He’s versatile. He can put the ball on the ground. I don’t think too many 6’10” guys can stay in front of him. And he’s athletic enough to finish and make plays. The dude’s a beast.”

Did he have a preference on which guard spot to play?

“No preference for me. Just a playmaker trying to make plays. Just doing what I can to help the team.”

Clarkson was asked about the biggest adjustment he had to make from college to the professional level.

“Just the pace. Sometimes, I play a little but too fast; I need to slow down. I’m still a rookie. I’m just going to keep learning and make sure I learn fast.”

I asked him what he was working on the most about his game.

“Just everything. My all-around game. My team chemistry, being able to make shots, make plays, create for others… it’s really everything.”

Jordan Clarkson has been impressive in Summer League thus far. He has no fear when it comes to penetration and wreaks some havoc on both ends of the court. Here’s to hoping he carries it over to his first NBA regular season.

The Lakers Summer League team hasn’t done well. They’re 1-3 thus far and lost to the Sixers SL team, 83-61, on Wednesday night. But we’re there to see how the Laker draft picks are performing.

Julius Randle has done pretty well thus far. Randle is averaging 12 points and four rebounds in three games he has played thus far. He has shown some flashes as an excellent player and has shown some versatility.

Randle was asked about him leading the break.

“It’s a part of my versatility. There are certain times you can do it. You just gotta read the defense and have a good feel for the game.”

Julius was asked about the transition to the NBA.

“I think it gets a lot easier, honestly. There’s more of a flow (in Summer League).”

When asked further about it…

“The spacing is way more because you just can’t collapse. Because if you do, somebody’s going to be wide open. What I’m seeing a lot is they’re either not collapsing, I got an open lane and they can’t guard me one-on-one or they’re collapsing and someone’s wide open and the passes are way easier. The spacing is the biggest difference from college to NBA.”

Julius was asked about his tendencies on the court.

“I like facing up first. A lot of times, guys are bigger, slower than me… not as athletic as me and I can use my athleticism and my skill set. So I like facing up whether it’s on the elbow, top of the key, block extended… that’s what I like doing. But I like grinding and being physical as well.”

He was then asked about his options when facing up.

“Honestly, it’s how the defense is playing me. If the guy wants to be physical, I’ll face him up. If it’s a smaller guy, I’m gonna take him to the post. The biggest difference from my first game and what I’m seeing now is I’m being more patient. I’m reading how the defenses are guarding me. From there, I’m able to operate and be more efficient.”

A lot of people have compared Randle’s game to Memphis power forward Zach Randolph. Randle seemed genuinely stunned and humbled by that comparison. I asked who he patterned his game after.

“Nobody. That’s very humbling, though. (Randolph) is a great player but I never compared or patterned my game after anybody.”

Randle was asked about how his experience with the Lakers fans in Summer League.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s kind of like Vegas is L.A. almost. So many people around everywhere I go whether it’s a cab or a restaurant, there’s Lakers fan and they know who you are. Obviously, you have the most fans here for the games. It’s kind of fun and ridiculous at the same time.

When asked if he was mentally prepared for the fans…

“I didn’t know it was going to be like this. Thought it was going to be JUST Summer League. I didn’t know that there were that many Laker fans out here in Vegas.”

Finally, he was asked about being drafted by the Lakers.

I know it’s the best possible place for me. I didn’t want to be anywhere else so I’m very happy that I was able to be chosen by the Lakers.”

And a lot of Laker fans are very happy that they got him with the 7th overall pick.

The Lakers are back in action tonight in summer league, facing off against the 76ers in the first round of the “tournament” that has become the second half of the LVSL.

And while the results of this game matter — if the Lakers win they advance, if they lose their summer league is over — I’m not really going to get worked up over what the final score is. If anything, I want them to win only so I get to see more of Julius Randle (and to a slightly lesser extent Jordan Clarkson).

Randle’s performance┬áis, ultimately, the major takeaway from this team. While there are other players who have shown promise, it is the player who the Lakers selected 7th overall whose performance matters most.

In Randle’s first game he did not perform very well and looked like a player who had only signed his contract 20 minutes before tip-off while also doubling as someone who had not played much basketball in recent months. His timing was off, he looked a bit sluggish at times, and wasn’t able to find a rhythm.

Continue Reading…

Assistant coach Mark Madsen is coaching the Lakers Summer League team. We caught up with him after their thrilling win last night against the Warriors.

FORUM BLUE & GOLD: There’s no head coach yet. Thre’s really no system in place. What do you tell the guys out there?

MM: Well, we’re trying to run a lot of generic NBA sets more than anything. We’re trying to help guys learn the basics of the NBA. So right now a lot of stuff we put in, if the new head coach wants to use it, he can because it’s generic sets out of the NBA.

FB&G: Who’s impressed you the most thus far?

MM: A lot of guys impress me. Kendall Marshall, with the stabilizing influence. Julius Randle played a great game. He was aggressive, he attacked… he gave multiple efforts. DeAndre Kane had a big-time effort off the bench. Quinton Ross, who hadn’t played for a couple of camps, went out there and did a great job.

FB&G: The Lakers went through their worst season in forever. What have you, as an assistant coach, learned from this?

MM: You learn that you always keep working and you always keep trying. No matter how bad it looks, you have to continue onward, knowing that things can always change later.

FB&G: So why not you as head coach?

MM: *laughs* I don’t have the experience. Hopefully in five years, that’ll be a conversation we can have.

FB&G: That’s a long wait, man.

MM: Look, man. You gotta be patient.

We’d like to thank the always-awesome Mark Madsen for stopping by.

Kendall Marshall has an unguaranteed contract going into next season. He’s on the Lakers Summer League team and is averaging 8.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in three games. He stopped by to answer a few questions.

FORUM BLUE & GOLD: You were out of the league for a bit before catching on with the Lakers. What did you learn from being out?

KENDALL MARSHALL: You can’t take this opportunity for granted. It was something that made me appreciate what I did have. And when it was taken from me… basketball, to me, is my life. So I felt like a big part of me was taken away. I’m extremely blessed to be in this situation I’m in now and I just want to take full advantage of it.

FB&G: What did Coach Madsen tell you to run out there? Or are they just letting you freestyle?

KM: We definitely have sets, plays that we call… things that we’ve been working on in practice. It’s a different offense than what I learned last year… I’m still learning.

FB&G: What do you intend to improve on for next season?

KM: One thing is remaining aggressive from the point guard position… not having them guard us four-on-five as well as just mastering the pace of the game and mastering getting guys open shots. And defensively, keeping point guards in front of me.

FB&G: What do you say to people who remark about your set shot?

KM: Look at guys that have been successful that have set shots. Guys like Andre Miller. It’s not all about shooting jumpshots. There’s a thousand ways to score a basketball. Guys like Mark Jackson. Guys that have been successful that didn’t jump 20 feet on jumpshots.

Much thanks to Kendall Marshall for a few minutes of his time.