No matter who one felt was ultimately the best player for the Los Angeles Lakers down the stretch of their late win over the Houston Rockets in the first game of the season, it’s indisputable the team couldn’t have pulled the game out without a few clutch contributions from shooting guard Jordan Clarkson.
After playing just six minutes in the first half, Clarkson made a case for head coach Luke Walton to never take him off the floor. Clarkson (17:57) played the most of any Laker in the second half, posting 23 points on 7-9 shooting to go with three steals.
If that raw production wasn’t impressive enough, Clarkson also demonstrated that he won’t be shying away from big moments for Los Angeles this season. The team’s official Twitter account summed up Clarkson’s critical plays quite nicely following the team’s first win of the year:
Last 30 seconds:— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 27, 2016
- JC 3-pointer
- JC put-back
- JC steal
- Julius bucket
Lakers lead 120-114 with 45.2 seconds remaining.
It wasn’t just the short minutes in the first half that gave Clarkson the strength to come up biggest when the Lakers needed him. The young shooting guard didn’t rest on his laurels following a big payday this summer, and he gave fans an inside look at his offseason training routine in this video from Whistle Sports:
We saw clips like this throughout the summer, and things like this show how Clarkson has put in the work necessary to make his way from a bought 46th overall pick into a key piece of Los Angeles’ young core.