With Ronnie Price out for at least six weeks and possibly the remainder of the season, the Lakers are left with three healthy guards on their roster: Jordan Clarkson, Wayne Ellington and Jeremy Lin.
Despite being understaffed, especially with Nick Young nursing a sore left knee, L.A.’s trio of guards have managed to keep the team afloat, leading it to back-to-back wins.
Clarkson paved the way for the Lakers against Utah on Wednesday, pouring in a career-high 22 points on 10-for-16 shooting.
“He played terrific basketball at both ends of the floor,” head coach Byron Scott said at practice Thursday. “And I just think with him, he’s just getting more confident each and every game. And I think that’s the biggest thing with him right now. He knows exactly what we need him to do on both ends of the floor.”
Meanwhile, Ellington also had a career night against the Jazz, notching his first-ever double-double by tallying 15 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
However, Ellington gave the credit to the Lakers’ frontcourt for his success on the boards.
“It always feels good to do something and set a career mark,” he said. “But it’s thanks to our bigs last night. They had their hands full down there, and so I was able to come down there and steal a few (rebounds).”
Ellington went 5-for-12 from the field against Utah, but the 27-year-old prides himself on being able to contribute with the other facets of his game.
“That’s something I learned my last year in college,” Ellington said. “As a shooter, you don’t want to be labeled as a guy who can only be on the floor if he’s making shots. That’s something I concentrate on. If my shots aren’t falling, (I’ve) got to do other things: try to make plays, rebound, defend, try to get some steals. There are a lot of other things you can do on the basketball court.”
While the three guards each contribute with different skillsets, all of them share the same ability to get to the rim with efficiency. Clarkson (11-for-12), Ellington (13-for-16) and Lin (46-for-54) have combined to shoot 70-for-82 (85.4 percent) on driving layups, 16.0 percent higher than the league average.
Young Sits Out Practice
Young, who missed Wednesday’s contest, did not practice on Thursday due to his sore knee. He is listed as questionable for Friday’s matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I know it’s getting better and the swelling’s going down,” Scott said, “but he’s still not ready to play.”