Surprised by draft drop, Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson wants to make point

Missouri's Jordan Clarkson, left, drives past UCLA's Travis Wear back in December.
(L.G. Patterson / Associated Press)

Jordan Clarkson waited on draft night. And waited. And waited.

Projected by many to be a late first-round draft pick, the point guard dropped into perilous territory for would-be NBA rookies -- the second round, the land of non-guaranteed contracts.

The Lakers, though, were happy to take him with the 46th overall pick, paying the Washington Wizards $1.8 million for their draft spot. The Lakers didn’t have a second-round pick because of the Steve Nash trade.

Clarkson will remember the teams that passed on him.


“Yes sir,” he said Monday. “That’s just fuel to my fire.”

How come?

“I feel like I’m one of the better point guards in the draft,” he said. “Just falling out of the first round and being selected in the second round ... .”

Clarkson, 6 feet 5, showed good scoring touch his junior year at Missouri before slumping toward the end of it. He averaged 17.5 points for the season but shot better than 38.5% only once in his last nine games.

He’s not the only Lakers point guard facing a non-guaranteed contract.

Kendall Marshall will be on their summer-league team after averaging eight points and 8.8 assists last season with the Lakers.

Marshall, 22, was signed in December and started off well but slumped badly in the scoring column in February, March and April, shooting only 37.4% over that span.

“I’ve been doing a lot of individual work so I’m excited to get some five-on-five stuff going and put what I’ve been working on into action,” Marshall said. “Using my body more, that’s the main thing. Taking advantage of my size. And, of course, shooting the basketball.”

The Lakers begin summer league Friday in Las Vegas. Clarkson will be on the team but first-round pick Julius Randle will not be on the court unless he signs.