Los Angeles Lakers: Jordan Clarkson
After so many years of Kobe Bryant being the undisputed MVP and leader of the Lakers, it’s clearly time for someone else to step up as the Black Mamba comes to the necessary end of his 20-year career. The ankle and shoulder injuries, not to mention the ridiculous amount of mileage, has caught up with him, and his air balls, 30.6 percent shooting, and career-worst PER of 10.1 show it.
So, now that he’s announced his retirement for the end of the season, it’s time for a new young star to step up. And as D’Angelo Russell is going to need plenty of time to adapt to the NBA and improve in his foolishly chosen position as a bench player, the star the Lakers can look to is Jordan Clarkson.
To choose the team’s MVP means making very close call between two of their young players, though. Whether it’s Clarkson or forward Julius Randle, you can make strong arguments either way. One carries more responsibility as a combo guard with more experience and better performance right now, while the other has shown rare skill for a 21-year-old when it comes to scoring and creating off the dribble or in the post. It’s a close call, and for Lakers fans it may just come down to personal preference.
However, considering how well Clarkson is playing right now, and the fact Randle is only in his first real season, the former has to get the title. His performance has elevated across the board, while his significantly improved range adds more diversity to his athletic drives to the basket. With a 46.2 field goal percentage and 42.3 percent stroke from three (up by an entire 11.9 from last season), Jordan has more efficiency to back up his skill.
On a roster so devoid of depth, talent, and any kind of defense, Clarkson still shows the sparks of a guard with star potential waiting to be fully unleashed.
Next: New Orleans Pelicans