Kobe Bryant had to cover Byron Scott as a rookie in training camp as a third-string shooting-guard.
Rookie Jordan Clarkson got christened into training camp by receiving the defensive assignment against Bryant.
Clarkson was taken to task in the post, going for fakes as Bryant hit fade-away jumpers.
“He’s a hard worker,” said Bryant after practice. “He’s a curious player, so he really tries to pick things apart. I was trying to test him.”
A place where an immediate impact on the floor can be made as a rookie is on the defensive end. There may not be many shots for Clarkson, but defending at the guard position in the Western Conference is a necessity.
With an aging Steve Nash, Clarkson could see minutes against speedy guards like Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, and Ty Lawson because of his energy on defense.
Phil Jackson named Cleveland Cavilers Assistant Coach Tyronn Lue to the 2001 Lakers playoff roster over Isaiah Rider in large part due to his defensive abilities. Lue helped the Lakers match-up against ball dominating guards like Jason Williams, Damon Stoudamire, and Allen Iverson, on their way to a historic 15-1 playoff record, and culminating in back-to-back titles.
While at Missouri, Clarkson averaged 17 points per game, almost 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
He was chosen second-team All-SEC, and earned three league player-of-the-week honors.
Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchack may have gotten the steal of the draft, as many analysts had him slated to go late in the first-round.