A lot of the focus during training camp this year for the Los Angeles Lakers under first year coach Luke Walton was on the defensive end of the court, as the Lakers finished at or near the bottom of the league in many defensive categories last season.
One player who has really focused on improving defensively is third year guard Jordan Clarkson, who has the tools and skills to be an elite defender in the NBA but struggled last season.
His improvements defensively were shown immediately as after the team’s first preseason game Walton praised his defense reaffirming that he can be a phenomenal defender.
One thing that sets Clarkson apart from a lot of guards in the league is that he is not afraid to play physical, something that he credited to growing up and playing in San Antonio, via SLAM Magazine:
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) October 24, 2016
Clarkson’s role with the team this season is currently unknown as Walton started him and brought him off the bench this preseason and has not said what he plans to do in the regular season. Even if Clarkson comes off the bench though he will likely be playing starter’s minutes and getting some time with the first unit.
At times this preseason the second unit has played better than the starters which is part of the reason why Walton hasn’t committed to a starting lineup.
Of the players currently on the roster Clarkson had the highest scoring average last season as he scored 15.5 points per game to go along with 4.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists.