During Jordan Clarkson‘s exit interview, the Lakers stressed that the point guard would need to improve his defense over the summer or risk losing minutes next season, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. “If we get the right players in here and if he doesn’t do it, he won’t play much,” coach Byron Scott said of Clarkson. “It’s that simple.” Opposing players shot 62.5% against Clarkson and the point guard finished with a lackluster defensive rating of 111.5, Medina notes. “He is too athletic and too quick to be that bad defensively,” Scott said. “Numbers from our analytical department don’t lie.”
Clarkson, who is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, acknowledged the need to improve his defense and added that he wants to remain part of the Lakers moving forward, Medina relays. “I feel confident I’ll be back here. I want to be here,” Clarkson said. “I want to be one of those guys that is not bouncing around from team to team. I want to be somewhere where I can come home and leave my mark or legacy or somewhere I can call home. I feel like this is the place I can do that.”
Here’s more from the Pacific Division:
- The Kings have been clear to candidates for their head coaching post that the front office will support them in disciplining players, including center DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee relays in a series of tweets. The franchise is fighting the notion that George Karl was fired to appease Cousins, and higher-ups have been clear that the big man isn’t a consideration when hiring or firing personnel, Jones adds.
- Warriors GM Bob Myers noted that while Shaun Livingston‘s contract for 2016/17 is only partially guaranteed for $3MM, the point guard remains in the team’s future plans, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group relays (Twitter link). The $5,782,450 that Livingston is scheduled to earn next season will become fully guaranteed if he remains on Golden State’s roster past June 30th. The 30-year-old appeared in 78 games for the Warriors this season and averaged 6.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists.