After their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings, newly-installed Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton made it clear that he has yet to finalize the starting lineup while still experimenting with some combinations.
Clarkson had a career year last season where he averaged 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 32.3 minutes per game, which made it an easy decision for the Lakers to offer him an extension this past summer. The Missouri product re-signed for four years at $50 million.
Speaking to Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com, the 24-year-old Clarkson said he doesn’t mind what role he’ll be given as long as he can contribute to his team:
“It doesn’t matter to me. As long as I’m on the court, playing minutes, I’m going to impact the game someway — if that’s defensively or offensively. I’m always going to be aggressive on both ends of the floor. That’s where I’m going to make my mark.”
This says a lot about Clarkson’s maturity, which is well beyond his years. He has been consistent in letting everyone know that his main focus is winning.
Last June, even before he signed his new contract, Clarkson shared the same thoughts during an interview with Harrison Faigen of silverscreenandroll.com:
“I would do anything for my team. If coming off the bench was something that was good for the team and we’re winning games then I’m always down with that. I’m not worried about who starts or any of that as long as I’m impacting the game.”
Though his head coach made it clear that lineup changes would happen during the series of exhibition games, it’s still expected that Clarkson will eventually start for the Lakers once the regular season begins.
Jordan Clarkson is a natural two-guard and is taller than Lou Williams. Most importantly, the former 46th overall pick of the 2014 draft is also the better on-ball defender between the two, which will come in handy as he will be tasked to defend the elite guards of opposing teams.