Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson was nominated by the votes of his fellow NBA players as one of the finalists for the "Best Rookie" Award as part of the NBA Players Associations' first annual "Players Awards." Clarkson was one of four candidates for the award, along with Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Elfrid Payton of the Orlando Magic. Clarkson, the 46th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, earned the respect of his peers on the strength of a breakout second half of his rookie season, during which 16.7 points and 5.4 assists per game after the All-Star break on his way to NBA All-Rookie first team honors.
Clarkson, who will play on the Lakers summer league team in Las Vegas when competition begins on July 10th against the Timberwolves, will get a chance to go up against two of his fellow nominees. Clarkson will look to show off improvements he has made to his game over the offseason, which the sophomore guard has reportedly been using to improve his shot. "He's been knocking that thing down on a regular basis. And from deep," Lakers head coach Byron Scott told the L.A. Times Mike Bresnahan.
Clarkson may not continue to rack up as many accolades, or seem as shiny and new, now that he is sharing the floor with the returning Julius Randle and incoming rookie D'Angelo Russell as opposed to his being the lone beacon of hope, but he will still get plenty of opportunities to dazzle Lakers fans on what could potentially be the best summer league team in franchise history.