After a rookie season spent as the breakout star of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jordan Clarkson's shine has dulled in the eyes of many during his sophomore campaign. Clarkson has suffered from the same struggles as many sequels in that the traits that were so great initially look less impressive the second time around, while at the same time some of his flaws (defense) have been made more apparent by the additional exposure.
All of this has led Clarkson to think he is the most underrated player in the NBA, the second-year guard wrote in a short "fill in the blank" style Q&A on the Player's tribune. While it's hard to gauge how various players are rated and people can endlessly argue about such arbitrary distinctions, Clarkson does have a case.
Clarkson's 2015-16 averages of 15.5 points per game on 45 percent shooting (37.1 percent from behind the arc) to go with four rebounds per game are all better than his rookie season averages, although he has averaged nearly one less assist per game. This production has stood out less while many pay more attention to the Lakers' two most recent lottery picks, D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, but it is impressive that Clarkson has been able to increase his production while using less of the Lakers' possessions and spending more time in an off of the ball role due to the team's offseason additions of Russell and Lou Williams, and the return of Kobe Bryant.
Clarkon's stagnation as a defensive player could put a ceiling on his career going forward should it continue, but for now he may just have a point about being one of the more underrated players in the NBA. With his restricted free agency coming up this summer and a big contract to follow, that won't remain the case for long.
Clarkson also revealed that he regularly beats Lakers head coach Byron Scott in shooting competitions and that an unnamed teammate of his has worn the same underwear for every game, so the whole Q&A is worth a read.
All stats per NBA.com. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.