Jordan Clarkson, now with the Utah Jazz, recently admitted that if that core had stuck together, it wouldn’t have been very successful.
“I don’t think it’s ever going to happen with all of us there,” Clarkson said told Complex’s Mike DeStefano. “[Laughs.] I think we were all stars in our own right. It was a good change of scenery for everyone to part ways with us and hit their home roads. I see the tweets and all that. It’s so funny to look back on it. I think the Lakers did a great job scouting us, finding talent and giving us an opportunity by drafting us. But if we were all on the same team, I don’t think it would ever have worked. We probably wouldn’t have given them back the championship or any of that, you know what I mean? They got LeBron for us, whatever that is. It’s part of the game. We were all stars in our roles. We had to change our environment to grow in other ways.”
Clarkson was a second-round draft pick of the Lakers in 2014, and while initially little was expected of him, he broke out late in his rookie year and proved he could be an impact player.
He averaged 11.9 points in 25.0 minutes as a rookie, and he increased to 15.5 points per contest the following year.
However, Clarkson was eventually traded along with Larry Nance Jr. in the 2017-18 season for Channing Frye, Isaiah Thomas and a 2018 first-round pick.
Since leaving Los Angeles, Clarkson has improved somewhat as he won the 2020-21 Sixth Man of the Year. But at the age of 30, he has yet to make the All-Star team.
Years post Kobe
After Kobe BryantTorn his Achilles in 2013 and retiring in 2016, Lakers fans dreamed of building the franchise’s next great team.
Los Angeles still lacked a return to the playoffs, and it became clear that high draft picks alone would not return the team to championship luster.
Immediately after landing James in July 2018, the Lakers’ next goal was to go out and find a superstar to team up with.
That’s what the co-superstar turned out to be Anthony Davisand to get him through trade, Ingram and Ball had to be thrown out.
Then, last summer, Kuzma was sent to Russell Westbrook trade It was an attempt to create a super team, but most believe it was a failed attempt, if not a disaster.
Given that the Lakers measure success by an NBA championship and nothing else, the core that Clarkson was part of would have fans hungry for even more if it were together.