Randle and Clarkson Wrap Up Summer League
If the primary purpose of L.A.'s trip to Las Vegas was to see what they had in recent draft picks Julius Randle (No. 7 overall) and Jordan Clarkson (No. 46), consider the stay in Sin City a success.
Friday afternoon's 83-77 win over Denver improved the full Summer League squad's record at 2-3, and after struggling through the first three quarters, it was Randle and Clarkson that carried the team to a closing win. Randle was 0 for 7 from the field in the first three quarters, but hit 5 of 7 shots in the fourth, his 14 points combining with Clarkson's 12 to carry L.A. home.
Players fighting for a training camp invite somewhere in the NBA pitched in as well, with Kevin Murphy posting 14 points and DeAndre Kane adding 12 points and three assists off the bench, but it was L.A.'s rookies that did damage with the game on the line. A big part of L.A.'s future, Randle is of course a lock to make the senior roster, while Clarkson who's put himself in pretty good shape to play when the games count.
In sum, both rookies showed off why the Lakers were excited about drafting them in their respective slots, surprised that a talent of Randle's level was available at No. 7 – he may have gone No. 1 in the 2013 NBA Draft. Clarkson was still around in the 40's, when GM Mitch Kupchak purchased an additional draft pick from Washington to take the Mizzou product that was 20 spots higher on L.A.'s draft board.
In three games prior to Friday's – Randle missed the opener as he'd yet to sign his contract – the former Kentucky freshman averaged 12.0 points, 4.0 boards and 2.0 assists in 23 minutes while shooting 44.8 percent. Clarkson, meanwhile, led the Lakers with his 16.8 points per contest, adding 4.8 boards and 1.5 dimes in 31.8 minutes on 43.6% FG's.
Clarkson didn't have his best shooting game, at 4 for 11, but he finished a tough driving layup with 2:20 left to give the Lakers a one-point lead. He added six boards, though he had four turnovers without an assist, a ratio he'll need to flip flop to get consistent minutes at point guard in the NBA.
Both players will get some rest, before likely reporting to Los Angeles at some point in September to work out at the practice facility in advance of October's training camp.
So far, so good for the rookies.