Nearly two weeks has passed, and Jordan Clarkson still seems bothered.
After both his agent and various mock drafts projected him as a mid first-round pick, Clarkson did not cement an NBA future until the second round. The Lakers scooped Clarkson up with the 46th overall pick, paying the Washington Wizards around $1.8 million to secure the former Missouri standout. And as he prepared for the Lakers’ Summer League team that plays in Las Vegas on Friday, Clarkson suggested elements beyond the Lakers’ championship tradition has fueled his hunger.
“I have a chip on my shoulder from the draft,” Clarkson said Monday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “I feel like I was one of the better point guards in the draft, maybe the best. But falling out of the first round and being selected in the round. It’s not about the number being drafted. It’s about the fit. That’s where I get my chip from.”
Other sources could enhance his motivation, too.
Though he grew up in the United States, Clarkson’s arrival at the Lakers’ facility sparked interest from Filipino reporters because his mother was born there. Clarkson sounded well aware of Kobe Bryant’s demanding expectations. Clarkson basked in the Lakers’ championship history.
Meanwhile, Clarkson has a non-guaranteed contract by virtue of becoming a second-round draft pick. Jordan Farmar’s defection to the Clippers leaves the Lakers with only Steve Nash and Kendall Marshall at point guard, giving Clarkson an opportunity to climb into the rotation. The Lakers only have Bryant, Nash, Robert Sacre and Julius Randle secured for next season, meaning his time at the Las Vegas summer League could largely dictate Clarkson’s future. Clark impressed the Lakers with his athleticism and versatility at both guard spots that ensured averaging 17.5 points last season with Missouri. But shot better than 38.5 percent from the field only once in his last nine games.
“I just want to come in and work hard and be the best player I can be,” Clarkson said. “That’s fuel to my fire. I will continue to grind.”