Lakers News: Joel Embiid 'Big Fan' of Lonzo, Clarkson Thriving off Bench & More

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts to Willie Reed #35 of the LA Clippers during a 109-105 76er win at Staples Center on November 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

With all the back and forth between the Sixers' Joel Embiid and LaVar Ball, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that there will be a bit of a problem between Embiid and Lonzo Ball when they take the court Wednesday.

But, according to Embiid, he's got no issue with the Lakers' No. 2 overall pick.

"I don't know him personally, but I don't have anything against him," Embiid told reporters Tuesday. "I said I love what he's doing, especially with his own shoe."

The precocious power forward even went as far as to say he's a fan of Lonzo.

"He's a great point guard," Embiid said. "He's been struggling a little bit shooting the ball but he's only played like 10, 15 games in the league. It's all going to come together. But I'm a big fan. He's a willing passer, especially as a point guard. Having that type of point guard that's always willing to set guys up is always good."

It wasn't always good, though.

In June, teammate Ben Simmons tweeted "crazy pills" after LaVar guaranteed the Lakers would make the playoffs, then Embiid retweeted Simmons, asking him to "please dunk on him so hard that his daddy runs on the court to save him.

LaVar clapped back, telling 97.5 The Fanatic, "If you don't win and don't even make the playoffs and don't even stay on the court long enough, that's the best thing you can do is tweet."

That was the last straw for Embiid, who replied via Instagram, "F--k LaVar Ball."

Embiid was fined for that expletive-laced post by the NBA, but it seems like the sting from that has passed.

Even Simmons, who ignited the feud, has good things to say about the point guard he's facing at Staples Center.

"I know he can pass," Simmons said. "He's a pretty good player. He can play. He sees the game well, he reads it well, he's a good player."

       

Clarkson thriving in reserve role

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 8:  Jordan Clarkson #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against the Boston Celtics on November 8, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
Brian Babineau/Getty Images

Lonzo remained on the bench in the fourth quarter in Monday night's 100-93 win against the Phoenix Suns because Jordan Clarkson was on fire.

The reserve point guard scored 25 points in 26 minutes, with three assists and no turnovers off the bench.

Clarkson was part of the Lakers' 10-2 run to go up 91-83 with 5:02 remaining in the game, and the Suns never got closer than six the rest of the way.

Head coach Luke Walton said he wanted to put Lonzo back on the court but couldn't pull Corey Brewer (13 points) or Clarkson to do so.

"There were a couple of times where I was one play from putting him back in," Walton told reporters after the game. "And one of those guys would make a play."

Clarkson is averaging 15.5 points per game, good for third among all bench players in the league. The former Missouri standout has been at his best when slashing to the rim, where he shoots 63.8 percent from the floor.

Additionally, his high pick-and-roll game has been particularly effective this season. 

The only rub has been his penchant to dribble too much.

"We don't want him dribbling 15 times," Walton told Lakers.com's Joey Ramirez. "He's going to be a big part of our offense and a big part of our scoring threat, but we want him making quick decisions. We run a lot of stuff for him, so we trust him to make passes when he gets double-teamed or blitzed."

The last time Clarkson played the point guard position was his rookie season, when he dribbled the ball 5.21 times per touch. This year, that number is down to 4.13 dribbles, but Walton would like to see that number decrease even more.

"Even on possessions if he scores it, if he dribbles 15 times first, it still deflates the way that we're trying to play," Walton said. "And he knows that. I just think he's very confident in his ability.

"It's not like the possessions he does that, he's trying to be defiant. He's played a certain way for a while and, like anything else, it's a habit we're trying to break."

Clarkson has taken Walton's suggestions to heart, allowing him to excel as a ball handler.

With him as the floor general, the Lakers' bench is scoring 41.8 points per contest on 50.8 percent shooting.

"Coach kept it really simple for me this year on what I needed to do," Clarkson said. "I'm just executing."

        

Lakers assign Hart and Zubac to G-League, recall Thomas Bryant

Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac have been assigned to the South Bay Lakers, the Lakers announced Tuesday. 

Hart appeared in 11 games this season, averaging 2.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.3 assists in 13.6 minutes per outing.

Zubac has only suited up two times for the Lakers this season. Last year, the second-year center played in 14 games for the D-Fenders, posting averages of 15.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

Los Angeles recalled Thomas Bryant, who, in four games with South Bay, averaged an impressive 20.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

With Larry Nance Jr. out of the lineup due to injury, the rookie center could see some action.

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