Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson to start over D’Angelo Russell against Denver

Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (6) goes up for a shot around Philadelphia 76ers guard Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot (20), during the 1st quarter, at the Staples Center, in Los Angeles Calif., Sunday, March 12, 2017. ( Photo by Stephen Carr / LA Daily News/ SCNG )

DENVER — The revolving door toward the Lakers’ starting lineup took another turn. But this time, Lakers coach Luke Walton did not target the usual suspects in demoting a veteran for the sake of developing his younger players.

When the Lakers (20-46) play the Denver Nuggets (31-35) on Monday at Pepsi Center, third-year guard Jordan Clarkson will start at point guard while second-year guard D’Angelo Russell will come off the bench.

“It’s cool,” Russell said before the game. “It’s not a negative thing.”

That’s because Walton told both Russell and Clarkson had nothing to do with their play. While Russell has averaged 20.5 points on 44.8 percent shooting and 5.4 assists in eight games since the All-Star break, Clarkson has averaged 19.3 points on 46.4 percent shooting and 3.6 assists during the same stretch. Though Walton called Clarkson’s career-high 30 points and eight assists on Sunday against Philadelphia “pretty damn good,” Walton stressed other factors influenced his latest decision.

“Just to see what it looks like when he’s out there running the point guard position against starting groups and what not,” Walton said. “That type of experience and that type of film breakdown with us will be valuable.”

Walton also seemed intrigued to see how Russell and Clarkson would handle their role change.

“That’s part of everything. We’re always interested in seeing how everyone responds to different situations and adversity and challenges, however you want to put it,” Walton said. “Part of our evaluation is always seeing how players respond to different opportunities.”

Clarkson declined to speak before the game, though he has publicly supported Walton’s decision to bring him off the bench after starting for all of his second season. Meanwhile, Russell admitted he just has to “respond to it the right way” before highlighting Walton’s preference to experiment with lineups with 16 games remaining.

Walton also has featured rookie center Ivica Zubac and newly acquired guard David Nwaba, while sitting veterans Nick Young, Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov. In other words, the reasons differ than when Russell lost his starting spot 20 games into his rookie season amid former Lakers coach Byron Scott expressing displeasure with Russell’s consistency, work habits and attitude.

“I don’t want to compare it and talk about that,” Russell said. “That’s irrelevant. But it’s a way different feel as far as you know there’s a reason behind it.”

Part of Walton’s reasoning stemmed from Russell still having somewhat of a similar role. He said that Russell will still remain the primary ball handler and will play around 30 minutes tonight. And Walton stressed his lineup experimentation will remain fluid, though it remains unclear if that will happen game-to-game.

“I still expect him to come out and play the way he has been by being aggressive, playmaking and scoring,” Walton said of Russell. “It won’t be that much different of an overall game. But not in the first starting group.”

Russell sounded on board with that idea, but he also highlighted a few wants of his own.

Before describing his play late in games as “up and down,” Russell still held out hope he would remain on the floor in crunch time.

“I just want to finish the games, honestly. I may not play the whole game. But if I finish the game, I know I’m growing and getting something from that,” Russell said. “Trying to make as many winning plays throughout the game, especially the last six minutes of a game. If I can make those winning plays and get in a consistent formality of doing that, close games are when you really get better.”

During the rare moments Russell and Clarkson have played together, Walton noted “it hasn’t been great for whatever reasons.” Though Russell called himself a “basketball player” instead of a “shooting guard” or “point guard,” he brought up the possibility of Walton featuring him and Clarkson in different roles. While Clarkson would assume ball-handling duties, Russell could slide to shooting guard.

“Just to see how we can play like that,” said Russell, who said he hasn’t practiced with Clarkson this season because they are on different units. “Usually when we play the previous times, it’s me having the ball and him being the shooting guard or off the ball. I want to see how it is switched around and see how it goes.”

The Lakers will also see how Walton’s new lineup change goes, something he said became more difficult to do than his other lineup switches.

“It was tough because D’Angelo has been playing pretty darn well for us,” Walton said. “He’s obviously one of the young guys that is a big part of the future. We want to keep his confidence high.”


RELATED:

How Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson eventually learned balance between scoring, passing

Lakers’ Brandon Ingram finds joy both in basketball and art

Lakers’ 118-116 loss to Sixers featured growing pains, improved lottery odds

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mmedina@scng.com. Subscribe to the “We Want Tacos” Lakers podcast on iTunes.

  • travis.kaufman@mail.ru

    I’ve profited 104,000 bucks last year by doing an on-line job from home and I did that by working in my own time for 3 or sometimes more h a day. I was following work model I found online and I am thrilled that i was able to make so much money on the side. It’s so user friendly and I’m just so thankful that i discovered it. Here is what i did… http://1b.yt/e7CTw

  • jennifer.briggs.92@mail.ru

    I’ve profited 104 thousand bucks in last twelve months by doing an online job at my house a­­n­­d I was able to do it by wor­king part-time for several hrs on daily basis. I’m using a business opportunity I was introduced by this company i found on-line and I am thrilled that I was able to earn so much extra income. It’s really newbie-friendly a­­n­­d I’m so blessed that I found out about this. Check out what I did… http://gee.su/nPuHf

  • moses.joly@mail.ru

    I got paid 104000 dollars last year by working from my house and I did that by w­o­r­k­i­n­g part time f­­o­­r 3 or sometimes more hrs each day. I’m using an earning opportunity I was introduced by this web-site i found on-line and I am so amazed that I was able to earn so much extra income. It’s user friendly and I’m so blessed that i learned about it. Check out what I do… http://www.wzurl.me/tEXzrw

  • everett.rife@mail.ru

    I got paid 104000 dollars in 2016 by freelancing from my house a­n­d I did that by working part time for several hrs every day. I was following a money making model I stumbled upon from this website i found online and I am thrilled that i earned so much money. It’s user friendly a­­n­­d I am just so blessed that i found this. Here is what i do… http://www.wzurl.me/UhyySA

  • jose.aliff

    I have profited 104000 dollars in 2016 by working on-line from home a­n­d I manage to accomplish that by working part-time f­o­r 3 or sometimes more h /daily. I used a money making model I was introduced by this web-site i found online and I am so excited that i made such great money. It’s beginner-friendly a­­n­­d I’m so happy that I found out about this. Here’s what I do… http://www.wzurl.me/tPSR1w

  • larry.smith.1991@mail.ru

    After leaving my last employment twelve month earlier, i’ve had some good success to find out this website which was a life-saver for me… They provide jobs for which people can work on the internet from their house. My most recent paycheck after doing work for them for 4 months was for $4500… Wonderful thing about is that the single thing required is simple typing skills and having access to internet…Read all about it here >> http://www.wzurl.me/Ouxcpw

  • meredith.rowell

    I was paid 104000 dollars previous 12 months by doing an on-line job and also I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours everyday. I utilized work opportunity I found over the internet and therefore I am thrilled that I was capable of to make such decent money. It’s really newbie-friendly and I’m so grateful that I discovered out regarding it. Have a look at exactly what I do… http://secure65.weebly.com

  • http://secure93.com ruEdward Cole

    I was paid 104000 dollars previous year by doing an on-line task while I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours every day. I utilized work opportunity I came across on the internet and also I am excited that I was manage to make such decent money. It is actually newbie-friendly and therefore I’m so delighted that I found out regarding it. Take a look at exactly what I do… http://www.doshort.com/58qZ

  • http://secure93.com Charles Garcia

    I was paid 104000 dollars last 12 month period by doing an on-line job moreover I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours regularly. I tried work opportunity I came across over the internet and so I am excited that I was succeed to earn such decent cash. It is really newbie-friendly and I am so delighted that I found out regarding it. Take a look at what I do… http://flicom.ru/846246

  • http://secure93.com Benjamin Garcia

    President of Google!, is notifying webmasters to begin “Work at home” practice, that Marketers have been doing more than one year now. This season only, I generated around $36k presently with no more than my laptop or computer and some spare time, although i have a full-time nine to five job. Even everyone newbie in this, can earn $50/per h easily and the profit can be even very high with time… This is how i started >> http://adultadda.net/2Y1