When the Lakers added #2 pick Brandon Ingram in the 2016 draft to the already stacked nucleus of 1st round talent the Los Angeles Lakers had assembled in the previous two drafts, Jordan Clarkson got lost in the mix when it came down to who was expected to make noise in the foreseeable future. You had three future All-Stars in D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, to most people outside of Laker Nation, Clarkson was a decent player who could hold the ship afloat while the franchise rebounded back to where it was accustomed to being and nothing more. I’ve seen countless people who maybe have watched one Laker game in the last five years tell me Clarkson was destined to be trash, granted most of those guys were from Twitter so take it how you want. The way I look at it is like this, we all knew Clarkson wasn’t going to be the Beyonce of the Lakers. Clarkson was meant to be a solid Kelly Rowland, a dependable talent who is there to clean up the mess in case Beyonce (Russell, Ingram, Randle) don’t bring their A-game and someone needs to take over for a night. But don’t get him twisted and try to measure him as a Michelle Williams, theirs levels to this. Put some respek on his name.
I say all that because Clarkson has been performing like Michelle this season and it pains me to my core to type that out. I’ve been a fan of Clarkson since he was a star at Wagner High School in nearby San Antonio. I kept my eye on him as he made his way to Tulsa and eventually The University of Missouri. I always knew he was going to open some eyes once he stepped onto the NBA level but what he did in his rookie year was way more than anyone could have ever expected. He started 38 games and averaged 11.9 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.2 rebounds and ended up being the forth rookie in the last thirty years to be drafted in the 2nd round and be named to the NBA All-Rookie First team.
Clarkson’s stats rose across the board in 2015-2016 ending the season with 15.5 PPG, and 4.0 RPG but his assists did drop a bit but that was because D’Angelo Russell became the primary ball handler for the team. But the fact that Clarkson can come off picks and knock down a 15 foot jumper or 3 point shot made me salivate at the thought of Russell and Clarkson sharing a back court coming into this season. Russell knows how and when to get the ball to the open man and I figured Clarkson would build off last year and absolutely explode this season before the NBA world. His jumper looks technically sound, no hitch in the motion, very fluid looking shot, but he’s been spotty shooting 43% from the field and 31% from three.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, before you take me calling his play this year as Michelle Williams as an insult, think of it like this. She was apart of arguably the best female vocal group of All-Time, regardless of her role she was a HUGE part of that, right? Destiny’s Child sold more than 60 million records worldwide. Her name was on the posters, outside the arenas, and on Billboards in Time Square just like Beyonce and Kelly’s. She will go down as a cultural icon whose influence will carry for generations to come. In 2015, Daisy Jones wrote a piece on Destiny’s Child impact on R&B music, “their distinct influence can be found peppered all over today’s pop landscape.” They gave us hits like “Say My Name,” “Soldier,” and “Jumpin, Jumpin.” I mean the list can go on and on, but you get my point.
With all that being said, just imagine if Clarkson and the rest of the young squad plug the right pieces into the puzzle, remember their was La’ Tavia, Le’ Toya and Farrah before we were blessed with Michelle. What if these Lakers and Coach Luke Walton do figure it out and become in the NBA what Destiny’s Child became for music? What if years from now kids growing up wants to be Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram or Julius Randle just like kids grew up wanting to emulate Destiny Child’s success? What if this team can transcend all barriers and set the new bar for future generations to strive for?
Let me put it like this, plain and simple, if 10 years from now we look back and the Lakers had a run of success like Destiny Child’s did in the early 2000’s, all will be right in Laker Land.