With superstar LeBron James now with the Los Angeles Lakers, Fil-American guard Jordan Clarkson sees it as an opportunity for him and his teammates to rise to the challenge with the Cleveland Cavaliers this coming NBA season.
Clarkson, an incoming six-year pro with the Cavs, expressed excitement despite the fact the team no longer has four-time MVP James, who signed with the Lakers last month.
“Big opportunity, and I’m excited,” said Clarkson in an exclusive interview with Manila Bulletin.
“So we’ll try to do some good things this year (in the NBA),” added the 6-foot-5 Clarkson, who will be seeing action for the first time with the national team against China in the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games on Tuesday.
Clarkson said that he remains friends with James, although they never talked things related to the NBA like when the latter signed with the Lakers. The same goes true with former L.A. teammate Kobe Bryant.
Clarkson joined the Cavs in February at the NBA’s trade deadline when L.A. dealt him and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a 2018 first round pick.
Although the self-proclaimed ‘Chosen One’ and ‘King’ in the NBA has left the Cavaliers – a few months after they got swept by the Golden State Warriors in the Finals – Cleveland’s roster remains solid and competitive for the next season.
Aside from Clarkson, the Cavs still have Nance, Kevin Love, George Hill, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson, as well as rookie Collin Sexton, the eighth overall pick during the previous NBA draft.
Asked on the possibility of finally making it to the All-Star team, Clarkson said he would rather prove it first and be judged by his performance, adding, “I don’t know, we’ll see.”
For now, his focus is on helping the national team compete for a medal in the continental sporting spectacle where he served as flag bearer for the Philippines during Saturday’s parade of nations in the opening ceremony.
“I’m excited, that it. It’s all basketball just like the NBA. It’s (going to be) fun,” said Clarkson, who has career averages of 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists in six years so far in NBA.