LeBron James was the talk of the NBA offseason and he shook the entire landscape of the league when he chose to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Many are already writing the Cavaliers off in the Eastern Conference after seeing the way the team struggled around James last season in the playoffs.
Despite all of the negative talk surrounding the Cavaliers, Jordan Clarkson believes that the team is ready to shock the league even without the best player in the world on their side. He made his feelings known in a recent interview with Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.
“I feel like we’re going to shock a lot of people this year just because LeBron left. I feel great about the team, coaching staff. They got a lot of belief in guys, so I’m just ready to strap it up and get ready for the season now.”
Clarkson was one of the most talked about members of James’ supporting cast last year. After being acquired midseason from the Los Angeles Lakers, Clarkson struggled mightily in the playoffs. He was unable to be the difference maker that the Cavaliers thought he could be.
He was asked about his offseason and plans to improve for next year and opened up about what he is doing to take those steps.
“That’s a big thing for me this summer. I got a new strength guy out in L.A. that I’ve been working with. He’s got me on a diet and stuff like that, so I’ve been focusing in the weight room so I can be ready for those times and keep prolonging myself so I can stay at a high level.”
Cleveland may not have James, but there are still quite a few talented players on the roster. Kevin Love, George Hill, J.R. Smith, Larry Nance, Clarkson, and potentially Rodney Hood are still in town. Those players aren’t considered superstars, but they can still compete in the East.
After being traded to the Cavaliers, Clarkson ended up averaging 12.6 points per game to go along with 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists. In the playoffs, Clarkson averaged just 4.7 points per game and was a major letdown for his teammates. That is something that the 26-year-old shooting guard does not want to do again.
It will be interesting to see what the Cavaliers end up accomplishing this season. Clarkson is capable of taking a big leap forward and will need to do so for his team to have any chance at competing.
Expect to see Clarkson and the rest of the Cavaliers’ roster to play with a chip on their shoulder this season. They will be looking to prove that they are more than just James’ teammates and that motivation could be exactly what they need to surprise the NBA.