Before everyone began raving about Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, there was Jordan Clarkson, the unheralded second-round pick that was supposed to bridge the Kobe Bryant-era Los Angeles Lakers into a future without him.
With attention falling mostly now on Ball, Ingram and even Kyle Kuzma, Clarkson has been forced to take a step back.
But when the need arises, the Florida-born American with Filipino roots steps up to the plate and performs to, sometimes even exceeds, expectations reminding everyone why this young Lakers team will be a force to reckon in the coming seasons.
A prime example of this is the Lakers' win over the Indiana Pacers Friday night (US time). No Ball (knee), no BI (ankle), but thanks to Clarkson's 33 points (14 of 19 shooting to go with 7 rebounds and 7 assists), the Lakers took down a playoff-quality club.
Of his 33, Clarkson, a two-guard whose skill set resembles Bryant, scored 16 in the fourth quarter.
No shot in that quarter was more Kobe-esque than the 3-pointer he buried from the left corner that turned a one-possession affair into an 89-82 game, thanks to a resulting free throw completing a 4-point play.