Pacific Notes: Lakers, Temple, Warriors, Suns

Jordan Clarkson nearly didn’t became a Laker on draft night in 2014, according to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, who writes that the team had a “real, down-to-the-wire temptation” to select former Louisville guard Russ Smith with the second-round pick that was ultimately used on Clarkson. Lakers layer personnel director Ryan West and Jesse Buss were high on Clarkson, which helped to tip the scales, per Ding.

The tidbit on Clarkson and Smith is part of a larger piece examining how the Lakers acquired their current core players. As Ding observes, for several years, the Lakers were focused on building their roster by carrying roster-filling players to maximize cap room, then pursuing top free agents. However, the club has moved away from that approach over the last couple years, focusing instead on accumulating young talent.

Here’s more from around the Pacific division:

  • Garrett Temple, one of a few veteran free agents who signed with the Kings this summer, has impressed the team on and off the court, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee details. “There’s nothing negative I could ever say about him,” DeMarcus Cousins said of his new teammate. “He’s a guy I love to talk to. He sits next to me in the locker room. He’s a positive guy at all times. Got to love guys like that.”
  • Golden State is now among the top five teams in the NBA in blocked shots per game, and concerns about the Warriors‘ rim protection appear to have quieted down over the course of their eight-game winning streak, writes Anthony Slater of The Bay Area News Group.
  • The Suns have one of the NBA’s youngest starting lineups, which Devin Booker views as a positive sign for the future, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. “Everybody is getting experience,” Booker said. “Everybody is getting a chance to play, so it should be good for us.”
  • Earlier today, we passed along comments from Clippers stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, who said the duo’s relationship is “better now than ever.” Read the full story here.
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