Jordan Clarkson Proving That He’s the Real Deal for Los Angeles Lakers

One can be forgiven for withholding judgement on Los Angeles Lakers second-year guard Jordan Clarkson, but it would be a mistake to ignore his continued emergence. 

Last season's 11.9 points, 3.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 25 minutes per contest qualify as solid first-year production, good enough to earn Clarkson selection to the NBA All-Rookie first team at season's end. As an emerging player on a bad team, the 23-year-old found opportunities and made something of them.

Some, however, fret about that 31.4 percent mark from three-point range or get hung up on that missed layup on Christmas Day. Clarkson's season wasn't perfect, and that sequence epitomized as much. Clarkson recently shared his take on that experience on

I'm not going to lie, that play hurt. We were already having a rough season, and the Christmas Day game was going to be one of our most-viewed games of the year. To have so many people watch me miss such an easy bucket was hard to swallow. Right after the play, I was on the bench and Kobe preached, 'It's basketball. It's gonna happen. Forget about it.'

Having Bryant around certainly hasn't hurt Clarkson's relatively rapid development. Even before he'd step foot in an actual NBA contest, the Missouri product found himself guarding Bryant during practices—and learning instant lessons, as he recalled on the Tribune:

It wasn’t even preseason yet, but Kobe was going full speed. Somehow he made it look as if he was just gliding around. I don't think he had played all summer due to his injury, but he still killed everyone. The first possession, he caught the rock along the baseline and hit a turn-around jumper in my face...a shot I've seen him hit literally a thousand times on TV.

The first-hand absorption of Mamba-like-wisdom is a gift in this league, and Clarkson has taken advantage. His ceiling r...

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