Last offseason, no one was hyping up Jordan Clarkson more than me.
In the post-Kobe era, I was convinced that Clarkson, who I like to refer to as JC (shoutout to NSYNC), was going to become my favorite Laker.
After being drafted with the 46th overall pick in the 2014 draft, JC surprised everyone by becoming the starting point guard for the Lakers in his rookie campaign and making the 2015 All-Rookie first team.
I liked everything about the kid. From all accounts, he was an absolute workaholic. He spent hours in the gym every day and showed legitimate improvement last season when he raised his three point shooting percentage by about 4 percent in the second half of the season.
There was also a moment last season when JC proved himself to be a good fit in the “older brother” role for D’Angelo Russell. Asking the sometimes volatile rookie to be calm when answering a question about his coach at the time, Byron Scott.
It was a small moment that was over in a second, but the fastest way to my heart as a basketball fan is showing maturity off the court. In that one moment, I knew JC was the guy I’d be rooting for the hardest on the Lakers.
I am currently in three fantasy basketball leagues. During the drafts that occurred in the offseason, I was able to draft JC in one league, trade for him in another and convince my dad to take him in the third league.
He was my favorite Laker, improved month-to-month and was entering his third season. Most players make their biggest leaps in terms of improving their game from their second to third seasons.
This is an obvious trend to dorks like me who have been playing fantasy basketball for almost a decade. It’s just something that comes with no longer being seen as a young buck playing on the same court as grown stags.
I defended JC against all haters and talked him up to any casual fan who asked me who would lead the team into the future.
But this season, none of my predictions about JC came true. In fact, he got worse in every non-defensive statistic.
A lot of factors come into play for JC’s rough season.
His minutes are down even since Luke Walton — the new head coach — has opted to move him to the bench at the beginning of the season, and Lou Williams — the scoring veteran of the team — is taking the most shots off the bench as Walton relies on him more to get the young team out of scoring ruts.
Rumors have also floated around that he was “more than friends” with model Kendall Jenner. If you believe in the “Kardashian curse” that destroyed the careers of other basketball players like Lamar Odom and Kris Humphries, then this could be a major factor as well.
All these are legitimate reasons for a player to suffer statistically, but let’s be honest, this is the Los Angeles Lakers.
With a 19-39 record, the Lakers currently rank 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference.
Out of 30 teams in the league, the Lakers rank 24th in offensive efficiency and 29th in defensive efficiency.
If you can ball, the team needs you.
So far this season, Jordan Clarkson has betrayed my trust. And now a week doesn’t go by without my dad or one of my friends making fun of me for defending him so fervently in the offseason.
He may not be my brother and he may not have given information to Hyman Roth that led to an attempt on my life, but JC has become my Fredo.
And honestly JC, you broke my heart… you broke my heart.