The biggest surprise for the Los Angeles Lakers in an otherwise extremely disappointing 2014-15 NBA season was the emergence of a potential star in the making with Jordan Clarkson.
After drafting Julius Randle out of Kentucky with the seventh overall pick, the team decided to acquire another pick for cash. The Washington Wizards were willing to make a deal and as a result, the Lakers appear to have gotten a steal with Clarkson at 46 overall.
In an appearance on ESPN’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak talked about Clarkson and compared the 22-year-old to a current NBA superstar, via ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
If there’s a player in the league that plays like him, it’s Russell Westbrook,” Kupchak said during a Thursday radio appearance with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd. “Now, I’m not saying for a second that Jordan Clarkson is the next Russell Westbrook, but he’s that kind of a ball-handling guard.”
In 38 games as a starter under head coach Byron Scott, Clarkson averaged an impressive 15.8 points per game to go along with 5.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds. Clarkson remained aggressive for the rest of the season and was up to the challenge of going head-to-head against some of the best point guards in the league like Westbrook.
With Clarkson making an impression in his first season in Los Angeles, the Missouri product has an opportunity for long-term success in purple and gold. The team may elect to sign a free-agent point guard in the off-season, Rajon Rondo and Goran Dragic are potential targets, but Clarkson has proven he can hold his own and will be a vital piece to the rebuilding puzzle.