Asian Games 2018

Gilas star Jordan Clarkson’s Asian Games success should alert Cleveland Cavaliers to his skills and leadership ability

The 26-year-old’s performances in Jakarta will prove to the NBA side that he can thrive when given the freedom to lead a team

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2018, 10:46am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2018, 12:30pm

Jordan Clarkson’s Asian Games stint with the Philippines national team should open the eyes of his NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers in making the best use of the 26-year-old guard’s skills, according to Cavs Nation.

Charles Pritchett, an author for the community website dedicated to the Cavaliers, highlighted Clarkson’s leadership role with Gilas Pilipinas as they finished fifth at the Asian Games in Jakarta, having lost close matches against China and South Korea to knock them out of medal contention.

Pritchett said Clarkson may pose a quandary for Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue because of his struggles during the 2018 NBA play-offs after an impressive 28 regular games following his trade from the Los Angeles Lakers.

However, as a second-unit leader, Clarkson can thrive for the Cavs, says Pritchett.

“This summer, Clarkson participated in the Asian Games, playing with the Philippines national team,” he wrote. “He had quite the showing, averaging 26 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists with only 0.7 turnovers a game, and all on great efficiency.

“Though the competition in the Asian Games isn’t exactly NBA calibre, it still helps to see that Clarkson performs well when he’s able to get the ball, run free, and make plays as a leader.

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Clarkson played four games for the Philippines at the Asian Games, scoring 28 points in the first during a 82-80 loss against China, who fielded NBA players Zhou Qi and Ding Yanyuhang.

He then scored 25 points in a 91-82 defeat by South Korea in the quarter-finals, which they also came close to winning, before hitting 22 and 29 in victories over Japan and Syria respectively.

Pritchett said the higher intensity of the play-offs affected Clarkson towards the end of last season but he will not have as much pressure in 2018/19 to even reach the play-offs with Cleveland’s star player LeBron James moving to the Lakers.

This will give him time to establish himself as an effective off-the-bench player as leader of the Cavaliers’ second unit.

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“I think the meat of how Jordan Clarkson can be better utilised isn’t that complicated,” writes Pritchett. “I simply think he needs more experience and more time to get used to playing on the team. I think he needs to have a true leadership role with the second unit, and I think the opportunity he’ll get with the Cavs next season is perfect. There’s no skin off of the team’s back if they make or don’t make the play-offs – and Clarkson has always been good in the regular season, so I doubt that’ll be an issue for him.

“There’s no skin off of the team’s back if they make or don’t make the play-offs – and Clarkson has always been good in the regular season, so I doubt that’ll be an issue for him.

“If Lue allows him to lead the second unit and gives Jordan Clarkson not ‘the green light’ but maybe a ‘green-ish light’ to make the right plays, I feel that Clarkson will find his rhythm and role with the Cavs going forward.

“I fully expect the Cavs to make the play-offs next season and if that does happen, I think that with a full year of experience will be invaluable for him to play more like his regular season self in the postseason.

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“I fully believe great things lie ahead for Jordan Clarkson, and Cavs fans should in no way be surprised when he bounces back from his showing in last season’s play-offs and proves himself as a good player and leader for the Cavs. He’s shown he has the ability and talent to be a valuable player.”

Clarkson is unlikely to play for the Philippines as they try to qualify for the Fiba World Cup in China next year. The finals will be held from August to September 15 – before the start of the NBA season – in eight host cities on the mainland.

The NBA gave special dispensation for Clarkson, Zhou and Ding to play at the Asian Games last month.