- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers came into draft night Thursday determined to acquire another pick to pair with their No. 7 selection in the first round.
The Lakers were able to buy the Washington Wizards' No. 46 pick in the second round, according to general manager Mitch Kupchak. The Wizards selected Missouri point guard Jordan Clarkson on behalf of the Lakers. The Lakers spent $1.8 million on the pick, according to a team source. NBA teams are allowed to spend up to $3 million per season on cash deals to buy a pick, sweeten a trade, buy a player out of a foreign contract, etc.
"A ball-handling guard that we're excited about drafting," Kupchak said. "We're looking forward to getting him in Los Angeles as soon as possible. Hopefully he'll participate in summer league, which starts in Las Vegas in about two weeks."
Clarkson averaged 17.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in his lone season with the Tigers after transferring from Tulsa after his sophomore season.
"It's a blessing, man," Clarkson told reporters on a conference call, reacting to being acquired by L.A. "I feel like I'm in a good situation. It was a long process, a long draft process. I worked real hard. And I feel like I'm in the right situation. I just have to make the best out of my opportunity."
Clarkson, 22, is a big guard, measuring 6-foot-5, 186 pounds.
"He's got great size," Kupchak said. "Good athlete. Really good size. Good defender. Excels probably at attacking the rim. Maybe not as good of a shooter, probably, as he will be when he works on it. He left school a year early. He transferred. So, I'm sure he was thinking that maybe he would get drafted higher and maybe he has a chip on his shoulder -- an expression you've heard today -- to come out and prove something. But we liked his size and we liked his skill at that position."
He was rated as a late first-round pick on several draft boards and was rated even higher before struggling with his shot for Missouri, shooting just 28.1 percent from 3-point range last season. Kupchak said the Lakers believed Clarkson could have gone as high as the middle of the first round.
"To get a guy like that at 46, we're pleased," Kupchak said.
Clarkson described what it was like to drop on draft night.
"My agent was telling me early on that I may go in the late first round but be prepared for anything to happen," Clarkson said. "So I was, and I just took it in stride. Now all I can do is use it as motivation to really push me in this next level."
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