Jordan Clarkson’s first foray into starting this preseason came at an inopportune time for him, as he matched up against the top starting five in the league during the Lakers’ meeting with Golden State on Saturday.
The Lakers’ starters fell behind big by halftime, as the Warriors grabbed a 74-47 lead, and head coach Luke Walton wasn’t blown away by the lineup change at Monday’s practice.
“It didn’t go so great, but like I said that was a small sample size,” Walton said. “I don’t think it was anything JC did. I don’t think he got as many looks as he has with the other group. That’s something that we’ll figure out if we want to try it again next game.”
Walton praised Clarkson for his scoring, energy and 3-point shooting, but allowed that the Warriors’ talent — featuring Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson — puts them on a tough-to-reach pedestal.
The Lakers will get another chance at the championship favorites on Wednesday when they meet for a rematch in San Diego.
“They’re probably the most talented team in the world,” Walton said. “If you let a team like that just freely move the ball without challenging them, trying to get them out of their offense — it’s gonna be a long night.”
Walton has also consistently praised Clarkson’s defense through training camp and preseason, but it was Nick Young whom he highlighted from the matchup with the Warriors.
“Nick was probably our best defender against Golden State,” Walton said. “He was tagging cutters. He was following the defensive game plan, keeping side pick-and-rolls down.”
With the regular season starting up in nine days, Walton will also have to cut two more players in order to meet the maximum of 15.
He anticipates it will be a “very tough decision” to make.
“Honestly, I have no idea right now who those two will be,” Walton said. “Everyone’s worked very hard and has been great, done everything we’ve asked.”