Jordan Clarkson was one of the NBA players the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers at last February’s NBA trade deadline. The 26-year-old shooting guard has shown a promising performance in his first 28 regular season games as a Cavalier, averaging 12.6 points and 2.1 rebounds on 45.6 percent shooting from the field and 40.7 percent from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, the Filipino-American guard failed to become consistent in his first appearance in the playoffs.
After finishing the regular season as the second leading bench-scorer in the league, Jordan Clarkson has become a huge disappointment in the postseason. Clarkson earned plenty of criticisms for aggressively taking shots despite his poor field goal percentage. In 19 games he played in the postseason, Clarkson averaged 4.7 points on 30.1 percent shooting from the field and 23.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Instead of being down, Jordan Clarkson used the criticisms as a motivation to work harder this offseason. In a recent interview with Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Clarkson vowed to prove his doubters wrong in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season.
“Had a lot of motivation,” Clarkson said. “But I’m understanding on how it is. I felt like I played a lesser role during the playoffs. A lot of it comes with what it is, during that time I wasn’t making shots and stuff like that. It’s part of the game. You’re going to take your ups and downs. I’m here trying to prove people wrong. I feel like people are going to judge me from one playoff series when I didn’t really play much or get much time in and it was an all new experience for me.”
— Zesty NBA Cavaliers (@zesty_cavaliers) October 8, 2018
Jordan Clarkson started the 2018 NBA offseason by improving his physique. He hired a new strength and conditioning guy in Los Angeles who helped him change his diet. From six percent body fat when he was still in Los Angeles, Clarkson believes he is already down to 5.5 percent.
Clarkson was also in consistent communication with Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue this offseason. He had a few individual sessions with Lue where they discussed the areas he needed to improve on both ends of the floor. Clarkson revealed that their workouts focused more on pick-and-rolls, creating space, ball-handling, and passing drills. During his film study, Clarkson noticed that opponents were trying to force the ball out of his hands and made him take poor shots. Lue wanted Clarkson to learn the things he needs to do in those types of situations. Lue urged Clarkson to be better in reading pick-and-rolls and passing the ball to his open teammates.
If Jordan Clarkson does what Tyronn Lue expects him to do, there is no doubt that he can play a significant role for the Cavaliers next season. The outcome of the 2018-19 NBA season will be crucial for the Cavaliers as it will determine if they will still continue competing in the Eastern Conference or undergo a full-scale rebuild.