The Los Angeles Lakers hiring Luke Walton as the next head coach of their team has brought a newfound level of excitement and hope to the majority of the team's fans, and it sounds like several of the team's players feel the same way.
Third-year forward Julius Randle has already expressed excitement at the chance to play in Walton's Golden State Warriors inspired offense, and it sounds like his fellow 2014 draft pick is also enamored with the possibilities that type of free-flowing system will generate for him, so much so that it's furthered Jordan Clarkson's desire to remain a part of the Lakers' future despite entering restricted free agency this summer.
"[Walton] was excited with the style of play he wants to bring in here," Clarkson told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. "I'm excited to play in his system. I definitely want to be in L.A."
The Lakers could match any offer for Clarkson in restricted free agency, but it was still positive to hear the 2014 second round pick double down on those comments in a conversation with Jovan Buha of ESPN:
"It really impacts it a lot," Clarkson told ESPN.com on Friday in a phone interview when asked about how the hiring affects his free-agency decision. "That style of play fits me, as well as the other guys. I definitely want to stay here in L.A. and be here. I said in my exit interview, I don't want to be that guy who bounces around from team to team.
"I want to be here in L.A. -- a place where I can call home -- and leave a legacy. The hiring makes it even better."
Clarkson also told Buha that he has been texting his fellow young teammates, including Randle, D'Angelo Russell, and Larry Nance, Jr. about their excitement for the "energy" Walton is bringing to Los Angeles, and if he truly plans to play a similar style to Golden State, it's easy to see why they would be excited.
Silver Screen and Roll covered how Randle could fit seamlessly into that type of offense on Friday,and Clarkson looms as another great fit for Walton's preferred style of play. Much like Randle, Clarkson could benefit as an attacker out of Walton's pet pinch-post sets, while also warping the defense with his shooting off the ball.
That shooting will have to improve a bit over the summer, as Clarkson shot 34.7 percent on three-pointers last season. Giving the Lakers reason for hope is how Clarkson's success from behind the arc was much higher coming out of the gates in November (43.4 percent) before a December ankle injury played a part in throwing off his mechanics for the rest of the year.
If Clarkson's shooting finds a sweet spot somewhere in the middle of those two percentages, than he will be able to truly unlock his potential as both an on and off the ball threat, which would allow him to be used interchangeably with Russell in a backcourt of two bigger guards with both shooting and ball handling ability. Does that sound familiar?
Throw in Randle's versatility at the four and a few free agent additions, and all of a sudden the Lakers could be looking respectable on offense as soon as next season. No wonder Clarkson is excited to come back.
All stats per ESPN.com. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.