Why Byron Scott Is the Perfect First Coach for Jordan Clarkson

An NBA rookie’s first head coach can make him or break him. For Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers, the hope is that Byron Scott will be the perfect teacher, counselor, disciplinarian and giver of confidence.

Clarkson—the team's No. 46 pick this season—is a combo guard with great speed, athleticism and ball-handling skills. The Lakers are currently in their second week of training camp, but the rookie has been working out for months at the team’s El Segundo practice facility.

In mid-September, Clarkson was interviewed by Mike Trudell for Lakers.com and said, “Coach is doing a great job, coming in the gym and working with me.”

It shows a level of personal attention that not all head coaches offer. But for Scott, it’s part of a long-established pattern.

A three-time NBA champion as a shooting guard for the Showtime-era Lakers, Scott transitioned his success to the sidelines, taking the New Jersey Nets to the Finals twice, and earning Coach of the Year with the New Orleans Hornets. He is also a guy generally regarded as a player’s coach.

Developing a couple of high-profile rookies—Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving—helped Scott earn that reputation. 

The mentoring habit started earlier than that, however.

For his final season as a player, Scott was brought back by the Lakers in order to mentor a willful and precocious rookie named Kobe Bryant.

Eighteen years later, the two are still close and working together once again.

This same type of lasting relationship can now be formed between Scott and Clarkson—a player with a self-admitted chip on his shoulder. This summer at the team’s practice facility, the brand new rookie said, per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

I feel like I was one of the better point guards in the draft, maybe the best. But fall...

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