A few years ago there was a Nike Basketball campaign called “Basketball Never Stops”. It was during the NBA lockout, but was a clever way to tie in the extra work guys put in during the off-season.
This campaign always stuck with me because it really is true. From Summer Pro-Am’s like the Drew League to guys touring other countries to players running clinics and camps, the game just keeps going. No where is it really more evident than with the training guys put in. In order to become the best they can be, these guys really do work on their game year round, especially using the summer to hone their craft and add new dimensions to their repertoires.
One Lakers’ player who has been putting in that work is Jordan Clarkson. Described by many in the organization as possessing incredible work ethic and living in the gym, Clarkson has been working on his game this summer and, per this short clip, it looks like it’s paying off:
The @Lakers' @JClark5on puts in the extra work to prepare for a new season! #NBASummer https://t.co/091yW0KlHQ
— NBA (@NBA) August 20, 2015
Of course, this isn’t the first we’ve seen of Clarkson looking like he’s ready to take another big step forward. During the summer league, Clarkson looked like he’d outgrown summer league, easily getting to his spots on the floor and flashing the level of finishing that earned him 1st-team all rookie honors:
Think he's ready for the next step? Check out @JClark5on's highlights from his big #NBASummer! @Lakers @DFenders https://t.co/T6lMGzygVM
— NBA D-League (@nbadleague) August 19, 2015
Here’s to Clarkson carrying forward his play and extra work from the summer into the regular season. The sky really is the limit for him and he looks ready to show he can reach his potential.
Andres Garcia says
the fluidity with which he gets in the air is amazing. He was the lone bright spot down the stretch last year. Looking forward to more of the same.
#thefuture Lakers better lock him up mid season with a contract.
I think the smart thing to do would be to make Clarkson start the season at point, and let Russell come off the bench. Kobe at 2 and than who ever at 3. That gives the lakers bench even more depth with Russell and Lou coming off the bench together while Kobe rest.
Valanciunas re-upped in TOR for 4/64 today.
I was thinking that Clarkson’s ceiling was as a third guard on a good team. I was basing this off of the fact that he was more of a combo guard and may not be strong enough to handle two guards. It looks like Jordan has bulked up enough to potentially hold his own against the Klay Thompson’s (6’7″ 220 pounds) of the league.
Curious though, if Russell evolves into the PG of the future would you start Clarkson at the two or try and obtain a ‘Klay Thompson’ of our own and bring Jordan off the bench?
He looks 100% ready.
Valanciunas re-upped in TOR for 4/64 today.
I mentioned this when the Valanciunas extension was initially reported. The summer of 2016 is looking bleaker and bleaker for young talent to hit the market as restricted FAs. And with the unrestricted FA market looking equally bleak beyond KD (who we all agree is not coming) things don’t look promising on the FA talent acquisition front.
The FO has clearly misjudged the efficacy of rebuilding the Lakers by signing elite FAs. To me that was always an iffy approach as Lebron’s signing in Miami signaled a clear change in free agency behavior — elites realized that they could get their money and win big as long as they joined forces with a championship caliber team. Historically, championship teams have three elite players (this dates back the Magic/Kareem/Worthy days however teams then were assembled primarily through the draft and trades).
I’m sure that is why Jim felt comfortable giving away all those draft picks in the Nash/Howard deals because he was confident that a rebuild was two elite FA signings away. Howard and Pau left for nothing in return in order to keep maximum cap flexibility — so the Lakers could sign multiple free agents. So this strategy has been the foundation of the Lakers turnaround from years. I’m assuming the FO anticipated FA availability and vetted which free agents would come. They must have also anticipated the rise in cap space and factored that into the free agent equation as well.
My question is: Why have we failed so publicly and completely with such a critical and important initiative? And if FO supporters claim that free agency is always a 50/50 proposition in acquiring a targeted player then answer me why was it prudent to focus on a strategy that had such a high probability to fail?
Why have we failed so publicly and completely with such a critical and important initiative?
Lakers have the history and always will and in the grand scheme of things this will always be a Lakers town. If that gives some comfort to Lakers fans, that’s fine.
That said, the greatness of the Lakers past was tied to men like Jerry Buss, Jerry West, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. Players come and players go, but it was the great (and I mean GREAT) Lakers front office that kept the team at the top of the standings and made the Lakers the best franchise in sports. But Jerry West is with the Warriors now, Phil Jackson is back with the Knicks and Pat Riley is in Miami. They aren’t coming back.
Sadly, Dr. Buss passed away and unfortunately for Lakers fans he left the team in the hands of his children and they aren’t particularly good at their jobs and the whole league knows it. They’ve had trouble hiring a good coach. They haven’t been able to attract a single, big name free agent. They gave Kobe Bryant an enormous contract that has hampered their ability to rebuild, particularly because Bryant has proven to be a player other stars aren’t lining up to play with.
I am a big fan of Mitch Kupchak. I think he’s smart. But he’s also a relic. The Lakers are behind the rest of the league when it comes to things like new metrics and the like. They’re old school and they are relying on their past laurels to attract new talent — it’s not working because those past laurels were the result of the work done by people no longer in the organization.
@George: Boom! Well said.
Back to the subject at hand — I think that Jordan Clarkson looks phenomenal. Clarkson could, potentially, be the X Factor on this team, a true difference maker. I say that for the following reasons:
1) He’s an extraordinary athlete — fast, quick, shifty, with amazing hops. In short, he’s everything we were praying for 2-3 years ago when we were all decrying the Lakers’ lack of athleticism. Well, we can’t complain about that any more because we now have an athlete, more than one actually. And Clarkson appears to be the best of the lot by far.
2) He seems to be very smart. He almost never makes the same mistake twice. I remember last year when he played the Clippers late in the year. On April 5th, when the Clippers “blitzed” him with double-teams, he was completely taken out of his game. He scored 2 points and had 3 assists and 4 rebounds. It was his worst game. Two days later against the same team, after studying film and speaking with his coaches, he had 20 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds. I remember that Chris Paul was very impressed. He obviously learns from his mistakes.
3) He works his tail off. Apparently, he’s the ultimate gym rat and is absolutely determined to work on every possible aspect of his game. This, together with his innate gifts, will carry him a long way.
I keep trying to temper my expectations regarding Clarkson. But every time I see him in a game (even if it’s Summer League) or on video working out, I can’t help but concur with Steve Nash who said just last week regarding JC: “The sky’s the limit.”
I can hardly wait to see what the new year will bring for Jordan Clarkson. Could he end up being the Lakers’ best player in the future? Only time will tell. It could happen. And that would not be a bad thing.
J C says
I always said that when both Jerry West & Jerry Buss had gone, that was the end of an era.
The third leg of that triumvirate that made the Lakers culture special was Chick Hearn. His role in the team’s rise to prominence is often overlooked.
Kupchak is still competent. It’s been the Buss kids’ inability to recognize the club’s fading attraction to FAs that has crippled them.
However, they have a fairly promising new young core that should help them turn the tide once more in their favor. Kupchak and the staff haven’t lost their eye for talent, as the Clarkson pickup shows.
If Russell turns out to be a star, we’ll be on our way soon enough. A talented pass-first point guard is the kind of player that attracts good players.
Health concerns were one reason Looney dropped, supposedly:
@SpearsNBAYahoo: Warriors say forward Kevon Looney underwent a right hip arthroscopy this morning to repair a torn labrum and is out 4-to-6 months.
Looks like we dodged one there. A lot of people were high on him over our draft picks (not that that means our picks will pan out, but just saying).
Back from holiday, have seen an answer to my post from another thread…..so @rr:
#52 is, of course, jamaal abdul-lateef wilkes! and i still cant find anything but his famous game 6 finals-performance….so if anyone has a link, feel free to share 🙂
I still feel a little unsure as to what his ceiling might be. I like what i saw so far (on a bad team as #1 option), and from what you read he has a great work ethic (maybe he learned that from a guy wearing 24?!?). But i think he still lacks that killer mentality a leader needs….i hope kobe will pass that mindset to our young guns.
By the way: to those who habent seen it so far: muse is a must-watch for laker-fans 🙂
I became a Lakers fan when Jerry West became a Laker. Clarkson is the best looking player since Kobe. Must luck to Clarkson and the Lakers. I will be watching.
P. Ami says
Clarkson is a hell of a lot of fun to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing how all this work translates against the NBA big boys. His legs look really strong. His feet look quick. He is gaining control of the game. No harm in hoping he is a difference maker.
If Kobe can play through the season and Randel finds his feel faster than he loses confidence, I think 35 wins is realistic. A few more years of stockpiling assets can get the team back in contention. If they focus on developing Randal, Russell, Clarkson, and maybe Upshaw they can eventually sign some quality FA whose development is parallel to the above players. The team probably has to be able to win 47-50 games on their own to attract a top-tier, true franchise, free agent. That free agent and continued development then propels the team to the 60 wins a season range. But, for this season, I’m going to just enjoy seeing how the young guys develop and hope the Lakers jump up into the top-3 in the lottery.
I think Clarkson would be the player I would pick first if I were starting a new team. Not only is he super slick but his attitude is great. this young man has everything needed to become a super star for the Lakers in the future & he could also drag the team into the playoff’s this season if Kobe breaks down again & he is the full time 2 guard. Truth be told zi am still worried about the team picking Russell instead of Okafor but I hope I am wrong & I would love to see our back court 2nd to the Splash Brothers…
A lot of talk but not a lot of basketball sense. The Lakers will be a team that will be at least in the top 3 in the western conference. And, they will compete for western conference title.
A guy like Clarkson pushes the other young players to work hard,watch film,be involved. So his affect is more than just as a single player. The fact that the Lakers will have so many younger players is just as much a + as a – and all the trade talk involving Clarkson this summer was just garbage.