Lakers: Jordan Clarkson Has Quietly Become LA’s Best Player


The Lakers have changed in many ways entering the 2015 season, but one change is more shocking than any other, Kobe Bryant is no longer the Lakers best player. Not only has Kobe lost that title, but he has lost it to the unlikeliest of challengers. Jordan Clarkson, a second-year player who was selected with the 46th pick in the draft, has established himself as the Lakers best player by a wide margin this year.

More from Lakers News

Jordan Clarkson impressed Laker fans as soon as he appeared on the scene. With impressive athleticism and aggression, it was clear that the second round pick had promise, but the speed and height of his ascent was predicted by no one. His rookie season ended with a rookie first-team honor, which has cemented himself a place in the Lakers future plans.

Not only did Clarkson impress with his consistent play, but he won over fans with some truly incredible highlights. Demonstrating elite speed and explosiveness, Clarkson had multiple highlight dunks and layups in his rookie year.

This athleticism represents Jordan Clarkson’s greatest asset. With the ability to rapidly accelerate and change direction, the young guard is a constant threat to get to the rim. With or without a screen, he is able to penetrate consistently and cause defensive breakdowns. The skills that Clarkson pairs with his athleticism, however, is what makes him truly dangerous. He handles the ball well enough to take full advantage of his speed and shiftiness, and the touch he demonstrates around the rim is truly phenomenal. Slower players than Clarkson struggle to finish at the rim at top speed, and yet Clarkson is able to soften his shots around the rim seemingly effortlessly.

This season Jordan Clarkson has demonstrated all of the tools that he flashed last season, coupled with improved poise and control. This ability to slow the game down and pick his spots has made Clarkson an even more deadly scorer. In the pick and roll Clarkson is virtually unstoppable, utilizing an exceptional mid-range jumper, explosive drives, and deadly floaters. Clarkson has also developed into an underrated play maker, with the Lakers offense often looking its best when he is at the helm.

In the national media, Clarkson is often overlooked in favor of players who were drafted higher than him.

To begin this season, Clarkson has showed off an improved three-point shot. This has increased his ability to serve as a spot up shooter, which was a weakness for him last year. The second-year guard worked hard on 3-point shooting in the off-season, and it has payed dividends, as he is shooting 45 percent from the arc to open the season. Clarkson has also leveraged his athleticism in a new way this season, getting multiple dramatic chase-down blocks in the first few games.

Despite the fact that Jordan Clarkson has developed into the Lakers best player, he has not yet gotten the respect he deserves. During his impressive run last season, many fans and analysts chalked his success up to being on a poor team. While he was given an opportunity because of a lack of quality guards, the success he had is a testament to his talent and hard-work.

In the national media, Clarkson is often overlooked in favor of players who were drafted higher than him. Despite the fact that he has done the most to establish himself as an NBA player, Randle and Russell are almost always mentioned before him. In his own draft class, from which Clarkson has proven to be the premier guard, far less accomplished players are often mentioned before him. This will be something Clarkson will have to deal with for the early portion of his career, with people assuming draft position defines talent or ceiling.

Clarkson recognizes this challenge, even saying that he he uses it for motivation by re-watching the draft after a poor game. This attitude has shown itself in his play, as he has consistently raised his game against rival guards from last year’s draft. This was epitomized by his poster dunk over Dante Exum, a point guard who many fans hoped would be drafted by the Lakers.

Although his play has been consistently impressive, Clarkson is not featured as much as he should be. Despite the fact that Clarkson’s shooting percentage of 49.4 percent is drastically higher than Kobe’s 32 percent, Bryant averages more shots per game than Clarkson. Not only is this hurting the team currently, it is hurting the future of the organization as Clarkson can use the experience of being a featured scorer.

Despite his draft position, Jordan Clarkson has the capability to be a star. With tremendous touch and athleticism, the Lakers young point guard should not be underestimated. While Clarkson will have to continue to overcome the doubters, it is undoubtedly time for him to step into his rightful role as the Lakers top player.

Next: Are You FanSided's Fan of the Year?

What are your thoughts about sophomore combo guard Jordan Clarkson? Let us know in the comments below.