Before the February trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to make huge roster overhaul with the goal of surrounding LeBron James with quality players that could help him win the 2018 NBA championship title. They traded Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Jae Crowder, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and Iman Shumpert and received George Hill, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson in return.
As predicted, most of the Cavaliers’ latest acquisitions have a hard time making themselves fit in LeBron’s team, especially Jordan Clarkson, who has earned plenty of criticisms with his playoff performance. Clarkson has been very inconsistent this postseason, averaging 4.7 points and 1.7 rebounds on an embarrassing 30.1 percent shooting from the field and 23.9 percent from beyond the arc. To make things worse for the Cavaliers, the Filipino-American guard failed to do what is supposed to be done by most floor generals – passing.
Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue usually used Jordan Clarkson as their backup point guard. Unfortunately, in the 19 games he played this postseason, Clarkson only posted 13 assists. Despite his inconsistencies on the offensive ends of the floor, Clarkson remains an aggressive shooter in the NBA Finals, hitting 2-of-9 in Game 1 and 1-of-4 in Game 2. This could be the reason why Lue decided to bench him in Game 3 and give more playing time to Rodney Hood.
“He’s a scoring guard, not a point,” a Western Conference executive told Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “He’s best when there’s room to attack in the middle of the court. He’s just not getting the same space to work with that he had on the second unit with the Lakers.”
With Clarkson’s unending struggle, Pincus believes the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA trade deadline deal with the Cavaliers. The Lakers made the deal not because they were interested in adding Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to their team, but to get rid of Clarkson and the remaining two years and $25.9 million deal on his contract. Since assuming front office role in Los Angeles, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka have already revealed their plan to sign two maximum-salaried players in free agency in which one of their top targets is Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.
So far, the Cavaliers must be regretting engaging in a trade deal with the Lakers. They didn’t only acquire two inconsistent players in Clarkson and Nance Jr., but they also end up losing their own first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. As of now, it’s up for Clarkson and Nance Jr. to prove that they are really worthy to be part of LeBron’s squad.