The Cleveland Cavaliers will have the No. 1 overall and No. 33 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. In the next few weeks here at Right Down Euclid, we will be profiling players the Cavaliers might draft on June 26th. Today, we profile Missouri guard Jordan Clarkson. Click here for more draft profiles.
Tale of the Tape
Name: Jordan Clarkson
Honors: SEC All-Second Team
2013-2014 Per Game Stats: 17.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 44.7% FG%, 28.1 % 3PT%, 83.1% FT%
Jordan Clarkson is an interesting specimen that should be available at the top of the second round. Clarkson primarily played point guard at Missouri, but has the size and skill set to be a decent shooting guard in the NBA. There’s a lot for Clarkson to work on in order to become a successful NBA player, but a lot of the raw ability is there.
Clarkson is a solid athlete, with good size and length to compliment excellent explosiveness. Clarkson has the body of a prototypical shooting guard, at 6’5” with a 6’8” wingspan, with a fairly thin frame. He has average quickness for a guard, but is very fluid, especially in transition and off the dribble. He’s a surprisingly good leaper, with a 38.5” max vertical, but didn’t really use that explosiveness in college. Clarkson also could afford to get a little bit stronger, especially if he’s going to be tasked with guarding NBA shooting guards. However, he’s a pretty good athlete, which is why he’s being considered this high in the draft.
Clarkson’s offensive fit in the NBA is a huge question mark. A lot of his skill set leads one to believe that he’s best suited as a shooting guard at the next level, he played almost exclusively at point guard for the Tigers last season. This was a fun adventure for Missouri, as Clarkson’s point guard skills are fairly lacking. He struggles with decision-making, except out of the pick-and-roll, and turns the ball over at an alarming rate. His handle is fairly underdeveloped as well, and that can put him in really unfortunate situations, especially against pressure.
Clarkson’s areas of offensive skill are more suited to him playing off the ball. He’s an excellent slasher, and can attack the basket well off the dribble. He’s also an excellent finisher once he gets to the basket, converting 56 percent at the rim. Clarkson was not a good three-point shooter, hitting just under 29 percent, but his mechanics are decent, meaning that he has potential as a shooter. His shot selection is questionable, but given his skill set, that may not be a bad thing. Clarkson appears best suited to be a bench gunner at the next level, someone who can play on the ball a little bit, but is best suited as a hotbox scorer off the ball.
Clarkson has the size and athleticism in order to be a solid defensive player. He’s decent at challenging shots, using his length to bother opponents even if he can’t stay in front of them. His big issue is that he lacks discipline. Clarkson was able to hide a lot at Missouri, as the Tigers ran a lot of zone, and that has resulted with Clarkson struggling to keep opponents in front of him on the perimeter. He has decent understanding of help defense, but has some very bad habits that a team will need to break him of. If he can become more disciplined, Clarkson could become a solid defensive player.
Position is going to determine a lot of Clarkson’s future in the NBA. If a team thinks they can develop him into a bench gunner at the shooting guard position, he is a lot closer to making an impact than he would be as a point guard. I’m not sure Clarkson can make it as a point, and seems a lot closer to NBA level as a shooting guard. However, he needs a lot of development on both ends either way, and the team that takes him would be wise to stick him in the D-League for most of next season.
Clarkson’s game has a lot of similarities to college-Dion Waiters. He’s a combo guard that looks like he would be better served as a scoring guard off the bench, but may be more comfortable playing point guard. Both have a long way to go defensively, which is somewhat tied to their college team running a lot of zone. Clarkson is not the athlete or shooter Waiters is, but their styles of play are similar.
How Does He Fit on the Cavaliers?
The Cavaliers will likely use their second round pick on a wing, and Clarkson is the type of athletic scoring guard they’ve targeted in the past. He’s very similar to Waiters, but the Cavs could develop him into a player who more closely resembles C.J. Miles. They have one of the better D-League teams in the league, and a pretty full roster for next season. Clarkson could make sense to take a flier on at No. 33, especially if guys like Glenn Robinson III and C.J. Wilcox are off the board.