Kobe Bryant may not be ready to declare which current Los Angeles Lakers teammate of his can take his torch as franchise player when he retires just yet, but he has passed a different torch this year. Bryant shifted down a position to start at small forward this season, ceding his traditional position at shooting guard to Jordan Clarkson.
The transition wasn't entirely meant to be ceremonial, but it was still a notable one. Even if Clarkson doesn't project to have anywhere near the career that Bryant had and may not become anything more than a solid starter for the Lakers moving forward, the team hopes that he and teammate D'Angelo Russell can anchor their backcourt for years to come.
Clarkson has come a long way in nearly two years since watching himself fall to the 46th overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, and the sophomore guard took to Twitter on the eve of Bryant's final game to thank him for his hand in helping Clarkson develop:
Bryant took a lot of flack over the years for being a less-than-perfect teammate, so it's good to see that he's truly appreciated by the young guys in the Lakers locker room.
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