Jordan Clarkson Emerging as Impressive NBA Draft Steal for Los Angeles Lakers

Second-round draft pick Jordan Clarkson has come a long way during his rookie season for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 6’5” speedster out of Missouri and Tulsa chalked up 22 did-not-plays (DNPs) during his early months in Los Angeles. But since being thrust into the starting lineup in late January, the point guard’s trajectory has gone through the roof.

Averaging 9.4 points per game through 40 games, Clarkson is currently fourth in scoring among all rookies.

That's impressive on its own.

But progress doesn’t stop there—his 15.2 points per game over the past six games puts him in second behind Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves for the month of March.

Wiggins was the No. 1 overall pick last summer. Clarkson was obtained on draft night when the Lakers purchased the rights to the Washington Wizards’ No. 46 pick for $1.8 million.

To watch the 22-year-old play these days is to witness the birth of something special, as he continues developing at an exponential rate.

Among his latest benchmarks was a career-high eight assists Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, with the Lakers snapping a five-game losing streak, 93-85.

He’s also getting the chance for sweet comeuppance at the expense of those who were favored ahead of him—like a fast-break dunk on Dante Exum of the Utah Jazz on Feb. 25.

In addition to the highlight reels, Clarkson’s making his share of rookie mistakes. He presses too hard under pressure, and his long-range shooting has been atrocious during March at 26 percent.  

But painful lessons are part of the journey, and Lakers coach Byron Scott is now giving his young ward plenty of room to grow.

On Sunday, the Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks were tied up late in the fourth quarter when Clarkson chucked up an ill-adv...

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