Lakers GM 'pleased' to get Fil-Am Clarkson
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is pleased to be able to get Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson with the 46th pick in the 2014 rookie draft, especially as the Mizzou player was expected to be taken earlier.
Clarkson – whose mother is Filipina – was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 46th pick on behalf of the Lakers, who had bought the pick for $1.8 million, according to multiple reports.
Kupchak told Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles that they were "excited about drafting" Clarkson, whom he called a "ball-handling guard."
"We're looking forward to getting him in Los Angeles as soon as possible," added Kupchak. "Hopefully, he'll participate in summer league, which starts in Las Vegas in about two weeks."
The 6-foot-5 Clarkson played two seasons for Tulsa before transferring to the University of Missouri, and was initially projected to be a late first round pick. Concerns about his shooting range – he only converted 28.1% of his three-pointers in Mizzou – may have caused him to slide down the draft, reported McMenamin.
Kupchak was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying that the Lakers had expected Clarkson to be "gone" in the mid-first round."
"To get a guy like that at 46, we're pleased," the GM told ESPN.
The 22-year-old guard still has a lot to work on, noted Kupchak, especially when it comes to his shooting.
"He's got great size, a good athlete…. Good defender. (He) excels, probably, at attacking the rim. Maybe (he’s) not as good of a shooter, probably, as he will be when he works on it," said Kupchak.
"I'm sure he was thinking that maybe he would get drafted higher, and maybe he has a chip on his shoulder… to come out and prove something," added the GM.
"But we liked his size, and we liked his skill at that position."
Aside from Clarkson, the Lakers drafted Kentucky big man Julius Randle with the seventh pick in the draft. It is unsure, however, if Randle will participate in the Las Vegas Summer League as he is dealing with a foot injury.
Clarkson told reporters that he feels he is in the "right situation" after being drafted by the Lakers.
"It was a long draft process," he said, as quoted by the LA Times. "I worked real hard. I feel like I'm in the right situation. I just have to make the best out of my opportunity."