Jordan Clarkson has been putting up solid numbers despite coming off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers. With the departure of pure scorer Lou Williams, the Lakers needed some firepower on their second unit, and so far the 26-year-old Clarkson has answered the call as he averaged 17.5 points on 48 percent field goal shooting and 50 percent from the 3-point territory through the first two games.

Motivated by Magic Johnson’s challenge to win the Sixth Man of the Year award, Clarkson’s strong start should position him well in what will be another tight contest for the year-ender award.

Williams (Los Angeles Clippers) and three-time Sixth Man winner Jamal Crawford (Minnesota Timberwolves) are once again expected to be the front-runners, while Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets) could also have a great shot at becoming a repeat winner being the No.1 offensive option on his team’s second unit.

However, this season presents the best opportunity for Clarkson to gun for the award and make a name for himself as a scorer. After coming out of obscurity in his rookie year, the Fil-American standout struggled to find his bearing the next two seasons because coaching instability and undefined roles. But with the arrival of playmaker Lonzo Ball, it was clear from the start that Clarkson would have to take over as the team’s main gunner off the bench.

Clarkson dropped 18 points in the Lakers’ season opener against the Clippers and followed it up with 17 points against the Phoenix Suns. When asked about the reason behind his inspired play as of late, Clarkson said coach Luke Walton gave him the green light to be aggressive. “I feel like that’s my role coming off the bench.

In the time I’m out there, I have to be aggressive, score and make plays,” Clarkson told the media via Lakers Nation.

Out of the Pacific Division:

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers fired back at Chris Paul after the All-Star guard revealed that his former team’s bad culture was one of the main reasons why he left for the Rockets.

Rivers clearly wasn’t happy to hear those words from his former playmaker.

“I don’t think you have to try to burn the house down or justify why you left. That’s what I would say to it. I like our culture,” Rivers told Elliot Teaford of The Orange County Register.

Paul, who demanded a trade out of Los Angeles to join James Harden in Houston, had a rough Rockets debut as he finished with four points on 2-of-9 shooting with 11 assists and 8 rebounds in a 122-121 win over the Golden State Warriors. The next day, the Rockets announced that Paul would be missing two to four weeks with a sore left knee.