Jordan Clarkson, a San Antonio native, spoke profoundly about the Lakers-Spurs rivalry after Saturday’s game. By the end of it, Clarkson knew where his loyalty lies.
Clarkson grew up watching Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan battle in perhaps the most competitive rivalry in pro basketball since the days of Celtics-Lakers.
After Bryant played his final game in San Antonio Saturday, there was a passing-of-the-torch moment. “It seems like he has the will to want to become a great player,” Bryant said of Clarkson.
That is high praise, indeed.
And Clarkson returned the favor. “I watched him growing up, I watched him kill the Spurs and all kinds of stuff, so it was definitely cool to watch that (pre-game video tribute to Kobe).”
Despite Clarskon’s strong show of 21 points, 4 assists and 6 rebounds, the Lakers lost 102-106 to the Spurs. However, Clarkson had earned the respect of San Antonio fans and coach Gregg Popovich.
Wants to remain a Laker 4 Life…
This June, Clarkson will be a restricted free agent. The Lakers are expected to match any offer sheet that might come Clarkson’s way. “I definitely want to be here in L.A. and be a part of this young group and grow. Hopefully we can grow into something great. I love L.A,” said the guard.
Clarkson will be joining teammates Kobe Bryant and D’Angelo Russell at All-Star Weekend in Toronto next weekend. Clarkson will be a part of the Rising Stars game and the All-Star Skills Challenge.
In his sophomore season, Jordan Clarkson has emerged as the team’s most consistent player with 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 50 appearances for the Lakers. For a 46th overall draft pick, those are mighty impressive numbers. Some would argue that his playmaking skills still need some fine-tuning, but his athleticism and finishing ability have already made him a fine NBA player.
Does Jordan Clarkson have what it takes to lead the Lakers into the next era?