Magic Johnson has put a ton of faith in Lonzo Ball as the Los Angeles Lakers‘ star of the future, but that doesn’t mean the other young players on his team will take a backseat, namely prolific scoring guard Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson recently held a youth basketball camp in Los Angeles, wherein Johnson made a special appearance to deliver a message not only to the kids in attendance, but also to the 24-year-old host:
“We’re excited about our season… He (Clarkson) is going to play a major role in us being a better team this year. We felt we put some weapons around him that would even make his game better. I have challenged him because I want him to be Sixth Man of the Year, so I’ve challenged him to play like that. I think he has the potential, the talent, he’s worked hard this summer.”
Those are some encouraging words from Magic himself to Clarkson, who’d shown flashes of brilliance in his first three seasons in the pros yet not at the desired level of Johnson’s standards.
Clarkson could take this as some sort of back-handed compliment from the five-time NBA champion, but it’d be best for him to heed Magic’s words of encouragement instead. Under Johnson’s guidance as well as Ball’s, he could very well develop into a more well-rounded playmaker, even if his new role will be coming off the bench in relief of his more celebrated teammate.
While Clarkson’s tenure as a Laker is at risk with Ball now running the show, playing second fiddle to Lonzo has its upsides as well. He no longer has to put too much pressure on himself to deliver as a starter, and he’ll also fit in with more NBA teams with what he’ll learn in the supporting role should he choose to leave Los Angeles.
On a lighter note: Clarkson’s already moved on from Kendall Jenner in stride, so he’s certainly capable of accepting his role as a backup to Ball and still improve his overall game, be it on the courts or in Tinseltown relationships.