It’s fine that the Los Angeles Lakers and the media surrounding the franchise are trying to put Jordan Clarkson on a pedestal. But don’t be surprised if it turns out he’s not really a point guard. Jeremy Lin is a point guard, and one who is a very good one on most days and under the right circumstances, but his time with the Lakers is coming to an end.
Is Jordan Clarkson a draft steal? Right now he does seem like an excellent pick. The Wizards took him at 46th overall and the Lakers acquired him for cash considerations. After almost one full season, it seems like a very good choice to make. But there’s a very big distance between a pleasing second round prospect and being the point guard of the future for the Lakers.
Just read this from Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com: Given how much Jordan Clarkson has shown lately, do Lakers need to go after a PG this offseason? Byron wouldn’t say. Said he didn’t know. Are the Lakers actually that blind to consider Clarkson as their starting point guard next season? Has Scott’s ability to coach and evaluate players deteriorated into this mess? Well, the Lakers’ record suggests it has. But hold on.
Clarkson was never a point guard, even if everyone wrote PG next to his name on websites. He is a shooting guard and although he has some impressive assist numbers from time to time, he doesn’t play like a guy that’s trying to make those around him better. There’s nothing wrong with that. He’s a gifted scorer with long arms and a growing arsenal of moves and shots. But that’s not a point guard, and he hasn’t shown some unique ability to be a successful off the ball shooter, which is required of anyone who plays next to Kobe Bryant in a lineup.
This isn’t a ‘vote for Lin’ type of post. That ship has sailed. Good games, bad games, it was made quite clear early on by Byron Scott who he’s counting on to play for him next season. When given the chance to play as a point guard, Lin usually looked good, and the Lakers were at their best when Lin was playing well, having fun on the floor and not looking over his shoulder after every mistake to see if Scott, who grinds his teeth whenever he had to pay Lin a compliment.
But Lin won’t be staying with the Lakers next season. It simply doesn’t make sense. Not for them, not for him. Kobe Bryant is staying, and no sane point guard who wants and needs to have the ball in his hands (matter of fact, any player, any position who wants the ball in his hands) will want to put his career in the hands of someone who is torn between his desire to be the alpha and outshine everyone and his fading dream of winning a sixth championship ring so he can be like Mike.
Clarkson is a good player, but there have been more than two or three second round picks that have seemed like steals early on and turned out to be players that peaked during that rookie season (Jonas Jerebko comes to mind among others). Lin is here to stay, only not with the Lakers, and as a point guard; a real point guard, not one because the media says he is.