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Here’s why Clarkson for Asian Games won’t work

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By Mark Patriarca

Assembling a cast with the best players doesn’t always equate to success.

Jordan Clarkson is by all means, a good player even on the NBA level. A 6-foot-5 guard who’s quick on his feet, shoots the ball well on mid and three range and will honestly dominate if he ever brings his game in the Asian circuit. But is it a good idea to push for Clarkson in the Asian Games which is happening less than a week from now?

Let’s take a look at the framework that Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas laid out for the quadrennial meet. First, they go with a core of a whole team in the PBA to represent PHL in the tourney. They tapped Talk N Text in the early conception, but was replaced by the Rain or Shine core following the Philippines-Australia incident in FIBA Asia Championships that multiple TNT players have participated.

Second, after choosing Elastopainters for the national team job, they decided to relegate the head coaching duty to NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao, with now RoS coach Caloy Garcia as his main assistant. Aside from the Rain or Shine players, Guiao also handpicked former players who were under his wing with the likes of Magnolia’s Paul Lee, TNT’s Don Trollano and his current player in NLEX, Asi Taulava.

These series of moves only screams one thing: familiarity.

With only under a month to practice and build the team chemistry, Guiao has assembled a roster that he knows, and also has adapted his style of play to speed up the gelling process. Adding Clarkson in the mix would definitely have a huge impact on the familiarity category.

Next, coach Yeng’s brand of basketball. For those who have been following the teams that Yeng Guiao once handled, one of the most important aspect that he teaches to his squad is ‘team ball’. Guiao is a spread the wealth type of coach. His teams performs best if the points are scattered on different individuals rather than being heavily focused on one star player.

Clarkson is more of a pure scorer more than a facilitator. For him to showcase his full potential, he’ll need the ball in his hands which gives Guiao two problems: Is he willing to change his style of coaching because of Clarkson, or will he gamble on incorporating Clarkson on his brand of ball?

Last one is probably the biggest problem that the team will try to address if ever Clarkson plays for Gilas in Asiad. Jordan Clarkson hasn’t seen action in local basketball circuit. Maybe scrimmages or practices, but not full-length match on any league here in the Philippines. That being said, Clarkson doesn’t know the tendencies, strengths and weaknesses of his would-be teammates. And for a guard, that would not be a welcome situation.

This can be addressed easily thru training, basketball workouts and scrims, but given the time constraints, it would be hard for Clarkson to adjust to a new environment.

There’s no question, every Filipino who breathes basketball all wants him to don a Gilas jersey. But all things will have its perfect timing, and this might not be that ‘perfect time’ for Clarkson.