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Lakers News: Jordan Clarkson says he has to improve defensively

The shooting guard also talked about a returning veteran and scoffed at Las Vegas' win projection for Los Angeles.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton praised Jordan Clarkson’s defense this week, but the third-year guard knows he still has a ways to go on that end of the floor.

"Probably the biggest point is defense first," Clarkson told Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum Sportsnet when asked what he most wanted to improve this season. "I know the offense is going to come."

How does Clarkson know that? He put the necessary work in.

"I worked on my shot a lot this summer, doing everything behind the line and off the dribble, being able to catch-and-shoot," said Clarkson. "I don't really know where I'm going to be on the court, and we're going to play a free-flowing, move the ball offense so just a little bit of everything."

Clarkson may not be clear where he’s going to be getting the ball, but it sounds like he’s ready to start the learning process when training camp begins on Monday.

"I'm just really excited about the year coming up," said Clarkson. "We've got a lot of young guys, a new coaching staff, being here in the facility working with them right now has been great. I'm just ready to kick it into gear and get ready for the year."

Waiting for him in camp are several familiar faces, including returning veteran Metta World Peace. Clarkson told Bresnahan that "it means a lot" to have World Peace back in El Segundo.

"[World Peace is] another vet guy that can help us young guys and stay on us, so it's going to be cool to have him back," said Clarkson.

Also returning is his starting backcourt mate, D’Angelo Russell. Like teammate Brandon Ingram, Clarkson thinks Russell is poised for a big season.

"He put in a lot of work this summer, and he looked really good in summer league," Clarkson praised. "He's been doing his thing out here, and we've been playing well together. I'm ready for the year, it's exciting."

The Lakers may not be projected to be very good by Las Vegas oddsmakers, but the confident Clarkson thinks enough of his improvements and Russell’s to scoff at the idea the Lakers would only win around 24 games.

"You said 24 games?" an incredulous Clarkson asked Bresnahan. "I'm just going to leave the interview."

He actually did.

All quotes transcribed via Spectrum Sportsnet. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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