Los Angeles Lakers: Three things we learned from their first game in MSG

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Jordan Clarkson Lakers
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

There needs to be a changing of the guards

Yeah, we’ve officially reached that point. Jordan Clarkson is not getting any appreciation for what he’s bringing to the table, yet he’s still putting out solid numbers in not-so-many minutes. In 20 minutes on the floor, Clarkson dropped 12 points and had the best +/- rating on the team with +9 when it was all said and done.

He helped lead a strong bench performance from the Lakers overall, meanwhile Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a bit of a bizarre performance.

Sure, he scored 24 points as the starting shooting guard, but he was also allowed to chuck up 14 three-point attempts on the night in 38 minutes. He was also out-rebounded by Clarkson by a factor of two and probably would’ve had an average scoring night if the minutes for him and Clarkson were switched.

Again, this somewhat falls on Walton’s shoulders based on the rotations he puts out there, but nonetheless, the disrespect to not give Clarkson more playing time is unreal to me.

That being said, the Lakers are at a crossroads where they can do what they want. The beauty of it is that they need to do it now, or they’ll run the risk of looking like complete buffoons if they don’t make a deal sooner than later.

Whether that’s trading Clarkson and giving him his place and time to shine elsewhere or dealing the expensive contract they gave out to KCP over the summer — something needs to give.

Add to that the fact that Kyle Kuzma out-played every forward on the team, particularly Julius Randle. Randle had 13 points off the bench, but Kuzma would not be held back as he willed his way to an impressive 19 point performance.

Next: Grades For Every Lakers Player So Far

Bottom line is that if the Lakers were still thinking of pulling the trigger on deals involving Clarkson and Randle, there has never been a better time for them to make their intentions clear.