D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson Pairing Can Unlock L.A. Lakers’ Future

The Los Angeles Lakers are somehow getting younger and growing up before our eyes at the very same time. Thursday's selection of guard D'Angelo Russell with the No. 2 overall pick has taken the Purple and Gold narrative to a happier place, a meditation on the future rather than preoccupation with an unlucky and injury-riddled recent history.

The organization has its youth movement to thank for the rosier outlook, including the now-healthy Julius Randle, who enters the season as the club's ostensible starting power forward. Elder statesman and all-around icon Kobe Bryant just might add a little something to the equation after recovering from rotator cuff surgery to repair his right shoulder.

Generally speaking, things are getting better in L.A.—all the more so if free agency yields a prized acquisition or two.

But for the moment, the real excitement pertains to what's become of a young backcourt that suddenly includes two oversized point guards with all kinds of upside. Their promise is so intriguing that Bryant may spend some time at the 3 spot this season, leaving Russell and 23-year-old Jordan Clarkson to handle guard duties.

It would be premature to predict any starting lineups (particularly in light of pending moves in free agency), but we can reasonably assume that head coach Byron Scott will look to make the most of his young talent—even if that means resorting to a creative lineup or two.

At least one half of the young pairing believes they can play together rather than subbing in and out for one another, per Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling:

Indeed, a backcourt combination of Russell and Clarkson would be dynamic on both ends of the floor, which is potentially great news for a club that ranked 29th league-wide last season in defensive (in)efficiency, yielding 108 points per 100 possessions, according to Hollinger Team Stats.


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