Jordan Clarkson could be losing his starting point guard spot with the Los Angeles Lakers. There are rumors that the move to the bench is just for the team to give big minutes and big role to young star D’Angelo Russell, and that Clarkson could be on his way out of the Lakers via a trade.
First year Lakers head coach Luke Walton admitted the planned new role for Clarkson for the new NBA season. Clarkson was the starter for the Lakers for most of his first two years in the league, a surprise performer since he was just a second round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Last year, Clarkson proved his worth as a starter. He averaged 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 32.3 minutes per game. But the arrival of Russell, who is considered the franchise’s long-term point guard, could affect Clarkson’s minutes and production next season.
However, Walton is not worried for Clarkson saying that he can be the team’s version of Lamar Odom and Manu Ginobili, who played major roles for the Lakers and San Antonio Spurs on a reserve role.
“I don’t look at [Clarkson’s role] as really coming off the bench as much as the way Lamar came off our bench but he was really a starter,” Walton said via NBA.com about Clarkson’s new role off the bench.
“He played big minutes, played the end of ball games. Ginobili [also] did it for years in San Antonio. It’s really a way of getting a starter in with the second unit so you don’t have a lot of drop-off. But he’s very good at that role so far.”
While this could be good for Los Angeles, this could create tension between Clarkson and young PG Russell, who is already being touted as a possible “next Stephen Curry” or next superstar.
It is also not helping that Clarkson and Russell are mentioned in rumors and speculations that one of them will be traded eventually because L.A. can’t pay big money to two starting quality point guards.
One of the trade rumors that make sense is the Lakers deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. In the deal, Los Angeles gets one of the Sixers big men (Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel) while Philadelphia receives one of Jordan Clarkson or D’Angelo Russell.
Would the bench role affect Jordan Clarkson’s confidence? Is this a preview of what’s to come for the Lakers, in that they are preparing to ship Clarkson to another team?
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