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Young core of former Lakers displays increased promise throughout the NBA

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson brings the ball up court.
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson is one of several former Lakers flourishing with other teams.
(Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

A young core of former Lakers continues to generate buzz around the NBA.

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson was named the 2021 NBA sixth man of the year this week, joining the list of players who since leaving the Lakers have flourished with new teams.

Clarkson was traded by the Lakers to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018, then to the Jazz in 2019. He mostly started with the Lakers, but coming off the bench has increased his impact. Clarkson averaged 18.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 68 games this season, only one of which he started.

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle was named the 2021 Most Improved Player and an NBA All-Star. Randle always had the mentality and the physicality to hold his own, but developing more offensive moves has made him an undeniable threat that fans, players and coaches bore witness to heading into the playoffs. Randle led the Knicks to their first playoff appearance since the 2013-14 season.

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram was named the NBA most improved player and an All-Star in 2020. Ingram had the length and athleticism to play in the league when the Lakers drafted him No. 2 overall in 2016, but by adding muscle and more shot attempts to his resumé, he elevated his game. Although the Pelicans failed to reach the playoffs in 2021, they have created a new young core that includes Zion Williamson along with former Lakers Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Ingram.

In 2019, guard D’Angelo Russell was named an NBA All-Star as a part of the Brooklyn Nets. Russell, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves, has always been a prominent scoring threat, especially from long range. Adding the ability to attack the basket and create for his teammates has rounded out his game.

Russell has been around the league, playing with the Nets, the Golden State Warriors and the Timberwolves since leaving the Lakers. His stint with the Warriors was an attempt to alleviate the stress of not having Klay Thompson in the lineup and creating the possibility of a third splash brother. But, that didn’t last long as he played only 33 games before being traded to Minnesota. Russell did average the most points of his career (23.6) with the Warriors. Russell’s career averages sit at 17.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 5.3 APG.

The young core has grown enormously after leaving the Lakers, proving themselves to be valuable NBA players with bright futures.

Players drafted by the Lakers since 2014 now playing for other teams

Lonzo Ball, Pelicans: Drafted No. 2 overall in 2017; Traded with Ingram, Hart and first-round picks to the Pelicans in a three-way deal for Anthony Davis in 2019.

Thomas Bryant, Wizards: Drafted No. 42 in 2017; Waived in 2018.

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Jordan Clarkson, Jazz: Drafted No. 46 in 2014; Traded to the Cavaliers in 2018.

Josh Hart, Pelicans: Drafted No. 30 in 2017; Traded to the Pelicans in the three-way deal for Davis in 2019.

Brandon Ingram, Pelicans: Drafted No. 2 overall in 2016; Traded to the Pelicans for Davis in 2019.

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Svi Mykhailiuk, Thunder: Drafted No. 47 in 2018; Traded with a second-round pick to the Pistons for Reggie Bullock in 2018.

Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers: Drafted No. 27 in 2015; Traded with Clarkson to the Cavaliers for Channing Frye, Isaiah Thomas and a first-round pick (Wagner) in 2018.

Julius Randle, Knicks: Drafted No. 7 in 2014; Signed a free-agent deal with the Pelicans in 2018.

D’Angelo Russell, Timberwolves: Drafted No. 2 in 2015; Traded with Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for Brook Lopez and a first-round pick (Kyle Kuzma) in 2017.

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Moe Wagner, Magic: Drafted No. 25 in 2018; Traded to the Wizards in the three-way deal for Davis in 2019.

Ivica Zubac, Clippers: Drafted No. 32 in 2016; Traded with Michael Beasley to the Clippers for Mike Muscala in 2019.


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