Jordan Clarkson: ‘I’ve Got a Chip on My Shoulder’ Heading into Next Season

LOS ANGELES — In some respects, Jordan Clarkson has already arrived.

The 23-year-old University of Missouri product earned first-team All-Rookie honors last season while bringing hope to forlorn fans of the Los Angeles Lakers. He's spent the summer touring around Asia, including a week-and-a-half in the Philippines (his mother is half Filipino) and working out with longtime trainer Drew Hanlen, whose growing list of clientele is littered with the NBA's elite.

But in so many other ways, Clarkson is still climbing uphill.

The Lakers, fresh off of their worst campaign in franchise history, spent the offseason loading up on competition for Clarkson's spot. There's D'Angelo Russell, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft and soon-to-be-christened savior of the team's future. There's Lou Williams, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. There's Marcelo Huertas, the Brazilian maestro who left behind a lucrative career in Europe to take his shot at the NBA.

And, of course, there's Kobe Bryant, who got the green light to play again after three straight season-ending injuries ahead of what could be his swan song.

Not to mention Jabari Brown, Clarkson's college teammate who came on strong for the Lakers down the stretch in 2014-15.

The Lakers are counting on Clarkson, the No. 46 pick in 2014, to be a prominent part of their post-Kobe success, but that won't come easily. He shared a backcourt with Russell at the Las Vegas Summer League to uneven effect; the team lost four of its five games, and neither Clarkson nor Russell performed at a consistently high level.

Since then, Clarkson has seen his prospects of playing for Gilas Pilipinas at the FIBA Asia Championship fall victim to paperwork problems. In addition, his former agency severed its relationship with him, with restricted free agency awaiting him next July.

"I’ve got a chip on my shoulder in terms of every...

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