Earlier this season, Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Byron Scott said Laker Jordan Clarkson was not on the same level as Russell Westbrook, but they play similar styles. Now, Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak is making the same comparison.
Said Kupchak on the Colin Cowherd show.
“If there’s a player in the league that plays like him, it’s Russell Westbrook. Now, I’m not saying for a second that Jordan Clarkson is the next Russell Westbrook, but he’s that kind of a ball-handling guard.”
Comparing a player’s game who completed his rookie season to that of Westbrook is a pretty strong statement, but one that does not sound so preposterous when looking at their playing styles. Westbrook has always been criticized for his shoot first mentality as a point guard. Even When James Harden was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook was accused of taking too many shots when he had Harden and Kevin Durant on the floor with him. Yet, Westbrook’s game is so explosive you want the ball in his hands allowing him to drive to the hoop and dish to his teammates. With Durant injured most of the season, Westbrook almost singlehandedly catapulted the Thunder to the 8th playoff spot before being eliminated by the New Orleans Pelicans and received a great deal of verbal discussion for league MVP.
Clarkson was drafted with the 46th pick of last year’s draft out of Missouri where he played one year after transferring from Tulsa. Clarkson started 38 games for the injury-riddled Lakers with many of his starts coming at the point guard position. He was named to the first-team all-rookie squad and was one of the few bright spots in a forgettable season for the Lakers that was the second worst in franchise history. For most of the first half of the season, Clarkson spent a great deal of time with the Los Angels D-Fenders of the D-League. Due to injuries to the Lakers’ team, Clarkson was promoted to the Lakers where he averaged 15.8 points, five assists and 4.2 rebounds as a starter.
Both Westbrook and Clarkson have strong ball handling skills and are extremely quick with the ball in their hands. You can see a little of Westbrook in Clarkson’s game, but I am not sure the Lakers should not pursue a point guard like Rajon Rondo in free agency since the Lakers are not sure if Clarkson’s future is as a point or shooting guard.
And that’s as I see it!
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Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Scott D. Mikulski