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Lakers’ Young Talent Carry Struggling Team

By RYAN ARANDA
Being a die-hard fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, this NBA season has been a difficult one to watch. However, those who actually watch the games will see that this isn’t just another wasted season.

Currently at a record of 12-50, the Lakers are at the bottom of the Western Conference standings by far. Although they may have a horrendous record, Los Angeles has a great deal to look forward to next season.

As many know, this will be the last season in the legendary career of Lakers’ superstar, Kobe Bryant. While this will be a loss for the franchise, the Lakers will have many young players to help fill Bryant’s shoes for Los Angeles.

In 2014, the Lakers potentially had the steal of the draft with their selection of Missouri point guard, Jordan Clarkson, with the 46th overall pick.

After earning the starting job for the franchise last season, Clarkson would go on to average 11.9 points, 3.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds in just his rookie season. He would be recognized for his play, as he was named to the 2015 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

This year, Clarkson built on these stats, averaging 15.6 points, 2.7 assists and four rebounds thus far.

Despite the fact that Bryant is a one of a kind player, Clarkson will do his best at attempting to replace the hole that the Black Mamba is leaving in Los Angeles.

Clarkson can be an elite player in the league someday, but he is not the only Lakers guard with loads of potential.

On June 25, 2015, the Lakers selected Ohio State’s standout freshman point guard, D’Angelo Russell, with the second overall pick in the draft to add to their group of young talent.

While Russell had his struggles early on in the season, he has begun to show the great play that he displayed in his high school and college days. On Jan. 7, Russell recorded his then career-high, 27 points.

In February, both Clarkson and Russell were selected for the Rising Stars Challenge in Team USA’s win over Team World.

The rookie point guard’s progression continued to be noticed on March 1 in the Lakers’ win over the Brooklyn Nets, when he totaled a new career-high of 39 points. This would go down as the most points scored by any NBA rookie so far this season as well as the most by any Lakers rookie in a regular-season game in history.

This was a game was a huge step in the right direction for the Lakers, as they saw a flash of greatness never showed before by Russell in the NBA.

Bryant had a long legendary career of 20 years for the Lakers, and he is now sadly down to his final 20 games. While the NBA will hate to see the Mamba go, they know that the time is now right for him.

The Lakers have relied on Bryant for a significant amount of production for two decades now, but fortunately, they will have up and coming guards, Clarkson and Russell, to help carry the team for many years to come.

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