Andrew Wiggins will win Rookie of the Year. Nikola Mirotic is making an impact for a playoff team, and Elfrid Payton is stuffing the stat sheet. But no first-year player’s success has been more surprising than that of Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson.
The Missouri product enjoyed a career performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, scoring a personal best of 30 points (12-19 FGs) and doling out seven assists. And while Clarkson’s pick-and-roll comfort, ballhandling ability, and shot-making prowess is what’s made him the pleasant of the 2015 draft class, it’s his explosive athleticism that most caught our eye Tuesday night.
We asked earlier this evening whether or not any point guard in basketball could dunk like Russell Westbrook. Well, let’s just say these two effortlessly awesome slams by the 6-5 high-flier might have us wanting to change our answer.
This is a lost season for Los Angeles, but the development of Clarkson could loom large to the team’s future. With he and Julius Randle, the Lakers have at least two stable building blocks already in house. And while Clarkson likely won’t consistently star the way he did against Oklahoma City, it’s clear he has the talent to be a rotation player in the league at the very least – for a long, long time.
Not bad for a second-rounder.