Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson preparing for any role given to him

Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (6) reacts after forward Corey Brewer (3) intercepted an inbound pass with seconds on the clock in the fourth quarter during their game against the Sacramento Kings at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Friday, April 7, 2017. The Lakers beat the Kings 98-94. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

EL SEGUNDO — The deal sent a clear signal the Lakers viewed Jordan Clarkson as part of their long-term future. The Lakers signed Clarkson last summer to a four-year, $50 million deal, an offer that signified Clarkson’s growth through two NBA seasons and their optimism about his long-term growth.

But after completing his third NBA season with the Lakers, the 24-year-old Clarkson faces a series of questions regarding his future. Will he play more as a point guard, shooting guard or mix of both? Will Clarkson start or come off the bench?

“I don’t know,” Clarkson said following his exit meeting on Thursday at the Lakers’ practice facility. “I guess we’ll have to see.”

Clarkson already has first-hand experience on handling those fluctuating roles. After rarely playing his rookie season, Lakers’ 46th pick in the 2014 NBA draft suddenly became the definitive starting point guard to close out the second half of the season amid persisting losses and a season-ending injury to Kobe Bryant. After starting during his entire season season, Clarkson lost that spot this season partly because Lakers coach Luke Walton though he and D’Angelo Russell struggled co-existing.

Clarkson then faced adjustments sharing ball-handling duties with Lou Williams, who became more efficient with his scoring. Clarkson flourished once the Lakers traded Williams to Houston before the Feb. 23 trade deadline. Clarkson then started as a point guard both with and without Russell in the lineup amid Walton’s quest to evaluate various combinations.

“I was kind of prepared for whatever, not knowing and coming into the season and what it was,” Clarkson said. “Just having an open mind to anything with a new coaching staff and everything.”
Continue reading “Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson preparing for any role given to him” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

How Lakers’ Julius Randle is striving to become more consistent

Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle #30 gets fouled by New Orleans Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca #42. The Los Angeles Lakers played the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. 4/11/2017 Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

EL SEGUNDO — When he bulldozed his way into the lane, it did not appear anything could stop Julius Randle. The Lakers’ third-year forward has a chiseled 6-foot-9, 250-pound frame that can overpower nearly anyone in his way. Randle can veer defenders off by relying on his predominately left hand. He has started to give his opponents fits with an emerging jumpshot. There is one main thing that can stop Randle from dominating, though.

Himself.

Though Randle finished his third year averaging 13.2 points on 48.7 percent shooting and 8.6 rebounds through 72 games, he logged single-digit performances in 22 of those appearances. He became frustrated when whistles were called against him as he averaged 3.4 fouls per contest. For better and for worse, Lakers coach Luke Walton often observed Randle’s level of engagement determined his effectiveness level.

Randle nodded his head in agreement with that assessment as he attributed his “mindset” and “preparation” fueling both his good and bad performances during the 2016-17 season.

“A lot of times I noticed practices carried over into the games. So how hard you’re going in practice or how hard you’re working will have a carryover as far as intensity,” Randle said. “It’s not going to guarantee you that you make every shot. But as far as intensity level and how hard you’re playing, it carries over. Usually when I’m into it and my intensity up and is playing hard, I’ll have a good game. But I have to be more consistent in bringing that energy and that effort and consistently having that motor going and powering my team.”
Continue reading “How Lakers’ Julius Randle is striving to become more consistent” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ Rob Pelinka think it’s possible to keep young core while making roster changes

Los Angeles Lakers new General Manager Rob Pelinka. El Segundo, CA 3/10/2017. Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

EL SEGUNDO — With all the unanswered questions and countless scenarios surrounding the Lakers, general manager Rob Pelinka likened the process toward assembling a Rubik’s cube.

“There’s a thousand different ways to turn the cube to get it and it all lines up,” Pelinka said. “You’ll eventually do it.”

The Lakers eventually want to reach championship prominence again, obviously. But as Pelinka and Lakers president basketball operations Magic Johnson determine which ways to turn the cube, Pelinka sounded certain on one thing. He does not believe he will have to choose between keeping the Lakers’ young core or making roster moves.

“I think it’s both. You never want to just make a trade to say we need to go make a splash,” Pelinka said.”Everything we want to do is be really really thoughtful, deliberate and intelligent.”

Continue reading “Lakers’ Rob Pelinka think it’s possible to keep young core while making roster changes” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ Thomas Robinson not given assurances about future as free agent

Thomas Robinson at LA Lakers Media Day at their El Segundo training facility. Photos by Brad Graverson/SCNG/The Daily Breeze/09-26-16

EL SEGUNDO –The unsettling feeling emerged once again for Thomas Robinson, who has viewed the end of an NBA season as a moment in which his future becomes murky.

But once Robinson met on Thursday with Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, general manager Rob Pelinka and coach Luke Walton, the anxiety went away. The reason? The Lakers complimented Robinson for offering endless energy off the bench while averaging 5.0 points on 53.6 percent shooting and 4.6 rebounds in 11.7 minutes off the bench in 48 appearances.

“They were impressed with the way I handled myself this year,” Robinson said. “They’re happy with that part with who I am as a person and as a player. I take that as a good thing. Hopefully it turns into me coming back as a Laker.”

Still, Robinson faces yet another uncertain future as he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“They didn’t say they did want me back,” Robinson said. “But they didn’t say I wasn’t going to come back, either.”
Continue reading “Lakers’ Thomas Robinson not given assurances about future as free agent” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ Timofey Mozgov expects to be starting center next season

The Lakers’ Timofey Mozgov is being introduced before a preseason game against the Kings at Honda Center on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (Photo by Kyusung Gong, Orange County Register/SCNG)

EL SEGUNDO — The Lakers brought Timofey Mozgov here last summer on a lucrative four-year, $64 million with the promise he would become the team’s starting center.

That did not actually play out in real time. Lakers coach Luke Walton shut Mozgov down for the past two months for the sake of developing younger players. It did not help Mozgov averaged 7.4 points on 51.5 percent shooting and 4.9 rebounds and could not elevate the Lakers out of the bottom of NBA in several defensive categories.

So it does not seem surprising Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka did not offer any assurances about Mozgov’s role next season Yet, Mozgov sounded optimistic his role will increase.

“I think it’ll change,” Mozgov said. “I have a feeling.”

Mozgov said he expects to become the starting center to open training camp. Though Lakers coach Luke Walton has said all players will open the 2017-18 season with a blank slate, it does not appear clear whether the Lakers will grant Mozgov’s wish.

Mozgov predicted “there’s going to be some changes this year” as the Lakers seek to upgrade their roster possibly the NBA draft and free agency. But Mozgov also pleased patience on Lakers rookie center Ivica Zubac having an increased role.

“I don’t think Zu is ready to be starting,” Mozgov said. “I think it’s a different thing when you come in the league, you’re up and back and then in the starting lineup as opposed to going into the season in the starting lineup. It’s two different things.”
Continue reading “Lakers’ Timofey Mozgov expects to be starting center next season” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ Nick Young suggested potential draft pick could disrupt his future

Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young #0 celebrates after making the game winning 3-pointer. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-109 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA 11/22/2016. Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

EL SEGUNDO –Apparently, the Lakers addressed one of many looming offseason questions. This one involved whether the Lakers would retain 31-year-old guard/forward Nick Young.

“They just signed me to $150 million,” Young bragged after his exit interview with Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka. “Thank you.”

Young then boasted the Lakers granted him a “life-time deal” that entailed handing him cash under the table. In reality, Young insists he has not decided whether he would opt out of a player option that would pay him $5.7 million to stay with the Lakers for the 2017-18 season.

“He said I had a good year,” Young said of Johnson. “They were begging me to pretty much stay. I was like, ‘Magic, we’ll see.’ That’s basically what happened.”

Whether that happened might be up for debate.

The Lakers have praised Young after he averaged 13.2 points on 43 percent shooting in 60 games as a starter under coach Luke Walton, a stark improvement from the 7.3 points he averaged last season on a career-low 33.9 percent shooting under former coach Byron Scott. Yet, the Lakers’ offseason plans largely hinges on if they retain their top-three protected pick in the NBA draft lottery and if they can land a marquee free agent in July. Young suggested the possibility of the Lakers drafting UCLA guard Lonzo Ball could affect his future, both because of Ball’s talent and attention his vocal father has sparked.

“They showed interest, but we have to see who else are free agents out there,” Young said. “If they get the top three pick, they might have the Ball family coming here talking crazy. It’s kind of hard when you have a Ball family and Swaggy P talking crazy. It’s kind of too much.”

It might also be too much for the Lakers to retain Young.

“I think I’ll be more of a vet here,” Young said.” But at my age, I don’t now if I kind of want to sit around and wait for the team to progress and grow. I kind of want to be on a playoff team and see what happens.”


RELATED:

Lakers’ Metta World Peace said Magic Johnson informed him he’s probably not returning

Lakers’ Marco Nuñez adapting to role as team’s head trainer

Warriors Steve Kerr thinks Luke Walton did ‘an amazing job’ despite 109-94 loss concluding tough season

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” podcast on iTunes.

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ Metta World Peace said Magic Johnson informed him he’s probably not returning

Fans react to the tear of 3 pointers that Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace #37 rained down on New Orleans in the 4th quarter. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 108-96 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. 4/11/2017 Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

EL SEGUNDO — Instead of waxing nostalgia about his longevity, Metta World Peace said Magic Johnson revealed one thing in his exit meeting.

“They’re probably not going to bring me back,” World Peace said.
Continue reading “Lakers’ Metta World Peace said Magic Johnson informed him he’s probably not returning” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Why Warriors’ Steve Kerr believes Lakers’ Luke Walton has done “an amazing job”

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has a moment with Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson #6 in the second half. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 108-96 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. 4/11/2017 Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

OAKLAND — The resume will never quite match what Luke Walton accomplished as the Warriors’ interim head coach. While Steve Kerr recovered from a spinal leak stemmed from offseason back surgery, Walton guided the Warriors to a 24-0 start and a 39-4 record before returning back to his assistant role.

More than a year later, Walton is about to end his first year as the Lakers’ head coach with far less of a substantial record. The Lakers (26-55) enter their season-finale against the Golden State Warriors (66-15) at the Oracle Arena with nearly the same amount of wins Walton collected to start off the 2015-16 campaign with Golden State.

Though Kerr has noticed the season has become “very trying” for Walton when they talk every couple of weeks, Kerr argued that Walton has “done an amazing job.” Kerr listed the various circumstances that made the season challenging including a young albeit unproven roster and lacking a definitive star following Kobe Bryant’s retirement. Kerr then cited the Lakers’ 10-10 start, only to spiral amid overlapping injuries and inconsistent performances.

“The start they got off to was really indicative of the joy Luke brought back to the team and to the daily routine and the energy in which they played,” Kerr said. “Then reality set in. You have to have talent in this league. Obviously, the Lakers haven’t had enough.”
Continue reading “Why Warriors’ Steve Kerr believes Lakers’ Luke Walton has done “an amazing job”” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers excuse D’Angelo Russell to see his family after grandmother’s passing

EL SEGUNDO — A night after securing a game-winning 3-pointer in honor of his late grandmother, Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell will honor her in a different way. The Lakers granted permission for Russell to leave for Louisville, Ky. to be with his family.

Lakers coach Luke Walton said he’s “not expecting” Russell to play when the Lakers (25-55) host the New Orleans Pelicans (33-47) on Tuesday at Staples Center. It’s also not clear if Russell will play in the Lakers’ season-finale in Golden State on Wednesday.

“He’s going to be home until he’s ready to come back,” Walton said. “When that is, just keep us in the loop. Do what you do and do what you need to do with your family. We’re here to support him. It’s not a set date he’s coming back yet.”

Russell had originally planned to skip Sunday’s game after learning about her grandmother’s passing earlier that morning. But he missed his scheduled flight and changed his mind after family members convinced him to stay. Russell then capped off an emotional day by nailing the game-winning 3-pointer for a 110-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Afterwards, Russell charged into the stands and hugged his brother, Antonio.

“He was still locked into the game. It shows how professional he is and how tough it is,” Lakers backup point guard Tyler Ennis said. “God just blessed him and kind of gave him a light at the end of the day to hit another game winner and get another win and kind of keep this streak going.”

Walton downplayed Russell’s potential growth in handling a moment of adversity, calling it a “unique circumstance.” Instead, Walton sounded more impressed with Russell overcoming a 6-of-19 shooting performance by collecting four rebounds, four assists, making the game-winning shot and performing well on defense. Walton downplayed his own support for Russell, saying “I’m just doing what I should do as a coach, a friend and a man when someone’s in a tough time.” Instead, Walton waxed poetic for Russell playing well in memory of his grandmother.

“To have that type of game-winning shot is special,” Walton said. “It’s part of what makes sports so awesome.”
Continue reading “Lakers excuse D’Angelo Russell to see his family after grandmother’s passing” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page