Will Jordan Clarkson click in the Asian Games?
Enzo Flojo on Aug 21, 2018 09:47 AM
Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson, right, watches with Philippines' Pauliasi Taulava on the bench as he arrives during a match against Philippines and Kazakhstan at the men's basketball match at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. Clarkson will play with the Philippine team on the next games. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)Finally, after much ado and false starts, Jordan Clarkson will see action today for the Philippine national men's basketball team. The former Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Missouri Tiger, and Los Angeles Laker will finally don our tri-colors in an all-important Asian Games affair against title favorite China.
What kind of impact will the Cleveland Cavalier guard have on our hastily-formed national squad, though? Will his inclusion actually work out the way people expect, or will it actually blow up in our faces?
Here's why having Jordan Clarkson will work:
- He's a bona fide NBA talent who has repeatedly put up solid production since debuting in 2014. Clarkson's career per-game numbers in the NBA: 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while shooting 44.3% from the field and 33.9% from beyond the arc. Translate those numbers to the Asian level, and we could be looking at an offensive force of nature for the Philippines.
- Clarkson's size, athleticism, and explosiveness will make him a nightmare of a match-up against China, who, despite boasting of two-time CBA MVP Ding Yanyuhang, may have bitten off more than they can chew in trying to stop Clarkson.
- Clarkson's versatility enables him to play any of the classic perimeter spots for the Philippines. His size makes him an excellent choice for either the 2 or 3 positions, while his skill-set and experience at the 1 also make him a viable option as the team's floor general. This gives head coach Yeng Guiao a buffet of choices when it comes to guard-wing combinations he can throw at the Chinese.
Here's why having Jordan Clarkson will not work:
- Clarkson is known for looking for his own shot. That's a big reason why he routinely scores in double-figures, but that's also why he hasn't progressed into more than a mid-level on-the-bubble player in the Association. On paper, he's a point guard, but he is not exactly an outstanding playmaker. Last year, he normed just 3.0 assists per 40 minutes for the Cavs -- a big reason he started 0 games for them.
- It's clear that Clarkson's scoring will be his meal ticket here in Jakarta. He can go out and drop 30 on any team here -- even China -- that's how talented he is. But, at the same time, he can miss more than he makes, which can be a really awful net negative for the Philippines against a team as big, deep, and well coached as the Chinese. Also, with two 7-footers protecting China's basket throughout the game, the degree of difficulty may be too much to overcome even for a gifted scorer like Clarkson. He can shoot the Philippines into a big win, but conversely, he can also shoot our chances in the foot.
In the end, Clarkson's inclusion makes the Philippines a much more challenging assignment for China. His size at the perimeter and scoring ability are potential difference-makers for the Filipinos, and as long as he stays "efficiently aggressive," then the Philippines will have a good chance of upsetting the Chinese.