NBA All-Stars

Jordan Clarkson on potential All-Star debut: ‘I could represent Utah, the Philippines’

Juro Morilla
Jordan Clarkson on potential All-Star debut: ‘I could represent Utah, the Philippines’

TEAM LEADER. Jordan Clarkson holds career-high averages in points and assists this season.

Jeffrey Swinger/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

‘I think I’m playing at an All-Star caliber,’ says Fil-Am guard Jordan Clarkson

MANILA, Philippines – Jordan Clarkson’s scintillating play with the Utah Jazz this season has put him in the conversation of a possible NBA All-Star debut. 

The Filipino-American currently averages a career-high in points (20.7) and assists (4.5), while adding 3.9 rebounds as a full-time starter for the surprising Jazz.

“I think I’m playing at an All-Star caliber,” said Clarkson. 

“I know we got to win more games before the All-Star break, kinda pushes up into the top of the West, but I think I’m playing at a high level,” the 30-year-old Clarkson said as the Jazz remain in the middle of the pack of the Western Conference.

“I know in the West, they got a lot of talented guards, but you know I feel like I could represent Utah, the Philippines at the All-Star game if it happens. But I definitely will be grateful and will be excited if that happens.”

Clarkson appreciates the plenty of support from his fans, especially the Filipinos, across the world. 

“It makes me feel great, you know, to be loved and you know, [being] supported is the best feeling ever,” the 6-foot-5 combo guard said during a video call with the Philippine media.

“For me, I definitely want to represent, you know, myself, my family, the country in the All-Star game. And you know, just put on [a show] and just feel the love like always.”

But aside from earning an inaugural All-Star nod, Clarkson noted that he’s more keen on helping the Jazz reach the playoffs. 

“For right now… concentrating on getting us wins, trying to keep propelling this team towards the top of the West,” he said.

Preseason expectations on the Jazz were tempered as soon as the team traded its two All-Stars – Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert – and replaced long-time head coach Quin Snyder for Will Hardy, a 34-year-old who had stints as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs and the Boston Celtics before grabbing his first head coaching gig in Utah.

Multiple oddsmakers then had the Jazz in the lottery, but Utah smashed those numbers and catapulted themselves in the battle for a playoff spot in the stacked Western Conference, behind the improved play of Clarkson, the emergence of Finnish forward Lauri Markkanen, and the brilliant coaching of Hardy.

Clarkson, who won the Sixth Man of the Year award in the 2020-2021 season, is now the starting shooting guard for the Jazz following the departure of Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he said he has taken advantage of his new role.

“Coming off the bench for maybe four to five years in my career, I was ready for this opportunity to come out here and you know, really show what I can do offensively – as you know, make plays, score the ball, defend, do everything around the court and be a leader for this team,” he said.

Aside from the opportunity, Clarkson shared that playing smart is one of the huge factors behind his elevated performance this season.

 “Just picking my spots throughout the game,” he said.

“For me being aggressive scoring, knowing when that time is and also being aggressive to make plays for his teammates, I mean, that’s kinda the biggest thing I’ve been balancing throughout this whole year.”

“I think through my past experience, I think it’s preparing me for this moment and you know, I’m just trying to keep the team to get better in that area, keep having my numbers great and you know, playing well,” he added.

As one of the veteran leaders left in Utah, Clarkson said he has embraced the leadership role and makes it a point to always help out the youngsters in the squad.

“Me being the kind of guy who’s been in the league for nine years now, I think it’s my time to kinda share experiences, share my knowledge, and kinda put it together for this team ‘cause we are kinda young, some mix of young and guys that are experienced,” said Clarkson.

 “I think I’ve accepted the role and I’ve done a good job of trying to do this in my ninth year.”

Despite a roster and coaching shake-up in the off-season, Clarkson remains optimistic of the Utah’s chances in reaching the postseason once more. 

“I think we got a good chance,” he said. 

“I think we got a good team with everything that’s happened earlier in the season. I think… with this schedule coming up, us being at home not traveling much, being able to play in front of our fans here in Utah, I think we’re going to string a bunch of games together and move right back up in the West,” Clarkson added.

“It’s not too much separation so you know, a few five-game, 10-game winning streak can put us right back up on top of the West so I’m really excited about that.” – Rappler

Fans can vote for Jordan Clarkson in the NBA All-Stars by registering their NBA ID and voting on the NBA App until January 22 at 12:59 pm Philippine time.

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