Jordan Clarkson Asked Byron Scott To Let Him Play In D-League Last Season
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Few second-round draft picks have the kind of breakout rookie season Jordan Clarkson had with the Los Angeles Lakers last year. Clarkson far exceeded expectations after earning the minutes from head coach Byron Scott and eventually became a starter in the backcourt.

What will Kobe Bryant make this season? Find out here!

The main reason for Clarkson’s breakout year was his dedication to improving his craft. The Missouri product became determined to improve in any way possible, including spending time with the Los Angeles D-Fenders at times last season.

Clarkson recently talked about playing for the D-Fenders and how it helped turn him into the player he is today, via Brian Kotloff of Dleague.NBA.com:

“I’m focused on always working on my game,” he told NBADLeague.com. “Early in the year, I wasn’t getting much time with the Lakers. Sometimes I would ask Coach to just go let me play. I love to hoop and you can never get better just by sitting on the bench. Going to play in those [D-Fenders] games definitely helped me to work on stuff that I could transfer over when I got time in the League. The game is a little different between the levels, but it helped slow the game down for me and it sped up my process of becoming a good player in this league.”

With Clarkson proving his worth during his rookie season, and being named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team as a result, the 23-year-old guard will likely remain a starter for the Lakers moving forward.

Although nothing is set in stone at this point in time, Coach Scott has said that Clarkson will more than likely be the team’s starting shooting guard next season. Kobe Bryant would shift to small forward while rookie D’Angelo Russell takes Clarkson’s spot as the starting point guard for the Lakers.

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He knows how to get the job done, study and hard work-and its working.

      1. this article is telling you that clarkson took the right path went to d league to improve his game.russell should take the same path

        1. Ridiculous, even though from the beginning of the season I wanted Jordan clarkson starting over j lin or any other point guard on our roster last year for a multitude of reasons. The facts are the facts, it’s a totally different situation being a number 2 pick in the draft compared to a second rounder. Russell will not play a single d league game in his career.

          1. I am one of the biggest Dangelo Russell fans out there.(getting his shoes when they come out).

            I have confidence and belief in him but.
            Do you think if he played the first 2-3 months on the D-fenders then come join the team in Jan. Do you think it would help his transition from college to the NBA?
            He did only spend 1 year at college, and i see his game kinda a mix between a PG&SG.

            I am really hoping his passing and dribbling skills will pull him through.

            But at the same time i don’t want to see this kid fail or be labeled a bust.

            If it means 2-3 months on D-fenders i would back up that decision 100 pct.

          2. He’s a quick learner, there will be some Ups and Downs but he belongs out there competing against the best right now.

          3. Before i laughed at people who said what i am saying right now. Sending him to Dleague its rediculous.
            But if you really think about it, he’s going to be thrown in the shark tank man.
            People already said he is a bust and the disappointment of Summer League. If he was my brother or sister i would tell him this to save him. I would not say hey your doing great!
            When you are struggling with something…
            I mean say he does 3 months in D-league he gets used to the 24 shot clock which he admitted himself was a nag.
            Play against dleague scrubs and shine. Come join later in a few months and bring a little more experience being he only spent 1 season in college basketball.
            Really his only prior experience is high school basketball and coaching.
            Don’t get me wrong i want this kid to do good and be the best.

          4. Agreed, I’d rather throw Dlo to the wolves and see Westbrook attack him and watch Curry spin him around and nail a 3 on him than watch him murder guys in the D-league then come up not ready for this level of competition. Learn from getting burned.

          5. I think if we didn’t have vets around him to help guide him I’d probably want him to go the D-league route and come up in January.

            But Hibbert and Kobe are going to command double teams so he (in theory) shouldn’t have a ton of pressure on him as the D isn’t going to make him a focal point.

          6. One thing for sure is that he is not an NBA starting PG right now. He needs time and I hope the Lakers don’t force the kid to start. In time and gained experience Russell will be great, but not right now. Summer league play showed that he wasnt ready and he wasn’t playing in a true NBA environment. He’s only 19 and has 1 year of college ball so fans please let him develop and make his mistakes before you bash him.

          7. Clarkson will start, Kobe will play the two, half way thru the year, Kobe will move to the three, Clarkson to the two, and Russell will start.

          8. that ridiculous. Kobe should start at the 2 russel should start at the 1 cuz hes a pass first pg and Dorell Wright should start at the 3

          9. being picked #46 motivated Clarkson to put in that hard work and it really lit a fire under his….
            I think in a way if you put Dangelo in the D-fenders it might have the same effect for him. Being the #2 maybe he lost sight of that hard work. I only want good for this kid but he has to get motivated and work hard bulking up,lifting weights ect…
            the NBA pg’s are no joke and they wont take it easy on him.

          10. what is your basis for this argument, how do you know he lost sight of hard work, without playing one nba game?????

          11. i saw like alot of other people him playing golf,out shopping.
            It just gives fans the wrong idea of what he is doing right now.
            Me? I would be out running trying to get faster,not only that but hitting the weight room he could add about 10lbs. muscle.
            See im not saying this at all because i dont like the kid.
            I love him and i wanna see him do good. No high expectations for Dangelo no labeling him a bust.
            Set the bar low and then soar over it like a champ that is my idea/thinking.
            2-3 months in dleague would hurt him or help him that’s my only question?

          12. He would improve quicker playing against players that are NBA starters period. And as fan we can’t take too much from social media and videos, byron and mark said he was a workaholic that would strive for greatness, I haven’t seen any reason to believe otherwise.

          13. I hope you are right and i am wrong.
            I really do. I want these critics of the media and fan-base to eat their own words calling him a bust a disappointment.
            The guys who kept saying we should have picked Okafor.

          14. LOL did you say, YOU WANTED, like you are a decision maker on the Lakers? lol

        2. it’s bad when even the editor calls you out on BS!
          cmon bro give it a rest….
          are you a true Lakers fan?
          most of the stuff you say is not true and makes our team worse. The trade scenarios you bring up noone agrees with.
          You need to get a reality check for real bro.
          I feel bad for you.

  • This type of mentality is why he’ll be an all star in 2 years and a focal point in the Lakers organization for years to come.

    1. love his mentality. his hunger to get better is almost kobe-esque. i bet kobe absolutely loves his dedication

      1. You know he does. He goes and gets it man. I must admit I wanted to move Clarkson to try to capitalize on his breakout yr on a bad team. But seeing how hard he works and that he WANTS to be great made me happy they didn’t. I was wrong on him.

  • clarkson would benefit his game further by playing next to JR smith.hes got the inside game down but needs work on his outside shooting

  • Upshaw and Dangelo could play in dleague for a few months then come join the team in Jan. or Feb.
    but that would leave 2 issues…. #1 PG and #2 SF
    if you start Clarkson at PG,
    then you have to start Kobe at SG.
    which makes you choose who are you gonna start at SF nick young or anthony brown?
    and although it is a good idea for a few months just to develop his experience and start out slow not rushing things,
    before you throw him into the mix of the NBA fast pace basketball style.
    i dont know if “i” want russell in the d-league.
    yes we can take a chance and leave him on d-fenders until Jan with upshaw

    or we take a chance putting him up against the elite PG’s of the NBA like,
    Russell Westbrook/ Tony Parker/ Damien Liliard/ Chris Paul/ Derrick Rose/ Kyrie Irving ect…
    whichever they choose to go, i hope it works out for us.
    Go Lakers!
    and GO D-Lo!

  • Because of some previous comments from other fans I feel like I have to make this point. FOR THE RECORD, I am a huge clarkson fan I knew he was the steal of the draft last year after watching the 2014 summer lg He stood out to me more then Randle do you guys remember his SL game winner? Also I wanted him to start over lin last year from day one that signing was a disaster(i think kobe would agree). With that being said please stop comparing him to Russell it’s ridiculous they have taken completely different paths to get to this point. One being the number 2 pick in the draft with lofty expectations while the other was a sleeper second rounder that exceeded everyone’s expectations including the lakers organization. Russell as a rookie is light years ahead of clarkson when he was rookie in almost every single category except pure athleticism. My projection for Russell is a BIGGER CP3 when kobe leaves his will be his team, if it came down to one of them having to leave based on salary it would be clarkson 10 out of 10 times. For those who think I’m speaking nonsense you saw a glimpse of what I’m talking about in the final SL game this year against the Jazz. Russell finally stopped looking for others and took over while clarkson stepped aside. When you have a player with the rare passing vision like russell that is blessed enough to be 6’5 allowing him to play multiple positions you want to pair him with a scorer shooting type of player or a slasher(ex. Lebron and dwade, Lebron and kyrie, Magic and worthy).Unfortunately CP3 has never had that which is why he has no rings, unlike russell who willl have the benefit of growing up with one in clarkson. But don’t get it twisted give russell those minutes clarkson had last year and he is far better overall player, this will be his team for the next 15 years.

    1. Do you think if they sent Dangelo to the D-fenders then it would hurt him?
      Do you think turnovers will be an issue at all?
      Theres is alot of high expectations for this kid,and at only age 19 his experience just isnt there.
      I pray this kid will succeed but i hate when people label him a bust because of a few Summer League games….
      if it means Russell spends 3 months on the d-fenders i don’t see how it could hurt.
      Clarkson remains PG Kobe stays SG no fighting over this SF arguement.
      It also forces Nick Young into the starting lineup and forces him to play ALOT more defense and better quality defense too.
      what do you think about that.

      1. First of all, number 2 pick’s that play the 1,2, or 3 have no business in the D-league, if it was a big you may have a point (hasheem thabeit). Second, the turnover situation was over blown, half of those turnovers were on his teammates. The last two games he averaged 3.5 turnovers (could be worse). Finally, nick young has not proven he has any business starting in the NBA, his best year was under dantoni on a horrible team. Scott said “I have no idea what Nick is doing this offeason” terrible sign, tells me the relationship is strained and doesn’t give me any hint that he is working on his biggest fault DEFENSE.

        1. Yes so in a way you agree with me on improving players and getting motivated.
          Im not saying it to make a big fuss just the opposite actually.
          I want to see him excel and succeed big time no matter the cost.
          I also wanna see them 3 studs take over the NBA soon.
          I wanna see the Lakers back on top of all these so-called elite West coast teams.
          Lakers dominated 2000-2015 we need to remind them that winning never gets old and we will never stop.
          Haters need to quit their day job.

        2. “Second, the turnover situation was over blown, half of those turnovers were on his teammates.”

          His teammates have even said that they miss passes from him just because they didn’t think he could get the ball to them where they were on the court. Once they really understand each other, I expect his turnovers to drop down quite a bit.

        1. First lets get this at of the way jc in no way is a 2nd round you would know this by looking into his college games. 2nd dlo could be another beasley we don’ t know and the way i see it jordan will be the best on this team just watch.

          1. first off he was selected in the second round that’s a fact. Second how are you gonna compare to Beasley who had a drug problem.

    1. I wouldn’t call Lin a all star, but to talk trash about Lin compared to the guys from last year is dumb. When he got a real chance to play he did. Him and Clarkson were doing well. He was the scapegoat, we sucked because we had rim protection and no big to score on regular. Clarkson should have probably saw more time earlier.

  • I wish Sacre and Kelly would ask to play in the D-League, then ask their D-League coach if they could remain there FOREVER.

    1. Kelly shouldn’t get all the hate, last year was his 2nd year and he was playing mainly SF. He can work as a good stretch 4, backup. If this was Lakers pre Kobe injury, having him would be good.

  • If players who get no playing time and feel they are better than benchwarmers did this, the NBA would be more competitive.

  • Clarkson shouldn’t have been a second round pick, everyone knows that now, he had an injury that scared a lot of scouts off from recommending him in the first round.

    1. That doesn’t stop Embiid, the Lakers are better than people give them credit for. We find talent in low places really.

  • You can’t have a guy better than Clarkson, he works hard, he does everything, and although people compare him to Westbrook, the thing he has over him is efficiency. Not to throw salt on Wesbrook but looking into the future, if the Thunder wanted to trade for Clarkson, I would say no. Of course that would never happen, but I really mean that.

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