Most guys in Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League are just here to fill out roster spots. Sure, there’s always the chance that someone will show out and make a name for themselves, but the majority of the players here have no shot at an NBA roster. Jordan Clarkson is not one of those players.
The Lakers’ decision to acquire Clarkson for cash on draft night looked like a wise one today as Clarkson lead the team in scoring with 21 points and all around looked the best player on the floor.
After the draft, Clarkson had the following to say:
“It’s a relaxing feeling and I’m going to work hard. I got a chip on my shoulder from the Draft. I’m just going to come in and work.”
That chip might be even bigger considering Clarkson couldn’t even get a jersey with his name on it. It’s not the worst thing in the world to have your name missing from your jersey, but it’s also not something you want as you get set to make your professional debut and have a million things going through your head. But as the Lakers made their way on to the floor to get their first 2014 Summer League game underway, there was Clarkson, striding out—cool and confident, as if nothing was wrong—with a plain number five shirt.
In 35 minutes, by far the most minutes played by anyone on either team, Clarkson filled up the box score, going 7-15 from the field—including 2-4 from three—for 21 points, grabbing 4 rebounds, handing out 3 assists, and adding 2 steals as well.
Of course, it’s important not to get too excited as it was just one summer league game after all, and a lot can—and will—change moving forward, but as far as professional debuts go, they don’t get much better than Clarkson’s.