The Los Angeles Lakers could get a top pick in this year’s draft and if they draft a guard someone’s minutes are going to get cut. Byron Scott is threatening to take minutes away from Jordan Clarkson.
Scott told the Los Angeles Daily News Thursday that Clarkson needs to improve his defense over the summer or “he won’t play much.” Clarkson understood that he has to step it up.
“I was horrible on the defensive end this year,” Clarkson said. “It’s somewhere I have to make strides.”
Clarkson only missed three games with the Lakers this season. He averaged 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. However, his PER dropped to 14.3 and his win shares dropped to 2.1.
More importantly, shooters who were defended by Clarkson shot a robust 62 percent against him. Opponents also scored about 111 points per 100 possessions while Clarkson was on the floor.
Those specific statistics have pointed to the organization’s criticism of him. Plus, if the Lakers get to draft Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram there might not be any room for Clarkson left on the roster.
The Daily News reported if Clarkson accepts a one-year qualifying offer this summer, he will be a restricted free agent again in 2017. Clarkson could explore the open market to find a bigger deal, which the Lakers could match.
“I feel confident I’ll be back here. I want to be here,” Clarkson said. “I want to be one of those guys that is not bouncing around from team to team. I want to be somewhere where I can come home and leave my mark or legacy or somewhere I can call home. I feel like this is the place I can do that.”