L.A. Lakers Players Who Will Make a Big Jump in 2015-16

Giant steps are needed for a Los Angeles Lakers team trying to find its way back to prominence. In some cases, it’s a matter of developing embryonic talent, and in others, it’s about partaking in the free-agent market.

And then there’s the players who seem poised for a breakout season—either the next evolutionary jump in their matriculation process, an improvement from what might have seemed like a lost cause or simply an unexpected gift.

Three current members of the purple and gold brigade offer intriguing examples of those potential betterment arcs.


Jordan Clarkson

Jordan Clarkson represented a potential sleeper hit when the Lakers drafted him at No. 46 in 2014, purchasing the rights to the pick from the Washington Wizards.

The athletic 6’5” prospect from Tulsa and Missouri felt he had something to prove after slipping deep into the second round.

“I got a chip on my shoulder from the draft,” he said, per Trevor Wong of Lakers.com. “I’m just going to come in and work.”

Clarkson’s early role entailed sparse minutes off the bench as a shooting guard and multiple D-League assignments. But midway through the season, Lakers coach Byron Scott switched the speedster over to the point. And there he thrived—a rapid ascent included 38 starts and NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.

It was something of a surprise, then, when L.A. selected Ohio State wunderkind point guard D’Angelo Russell as the second overall pick in June, raising an obvious question: What would the future hold for Clarkson?

Russell had voiced the same concern when Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak brought him in for a second workout. The answer was simple:

“The reason we’re bringing you in a second time is we feel like you can play together,&rdqu...

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