When we last discussed Jordan Clarkson’s desire to play for the Philippine National Team in the Asia Championships the focus on him being named to 24-player pool and his status was tied more to is ability to play as a “natural born” player. The Philippine basketball federation was said to be getting FIBA the paperwork they were requesting to clear Clarkson and, thus, opening the avenue for him to play in the end of September tournament whose winner would earn a berth to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Well, while we are still waiting for a final word from FIBA, there seems to be a more pressing question about Clarkson’s availability and it is tied to the Lakers, the start of training camp, and the timing of the tournament in China. Kurt Helin at Pro Basketball Talk has the story:
The Lakers open training camp in Hawaii Sept. 29. The semi-finals of FIBA Asia is Oct. 1, the finals Oct. 3 — and the Philippines made the finals of the last such event. Playing likely means Clarkson misses at least the first three and maybe first five or six days of training camp. Good luck selling Byron Scott on that idea.
As Kurt cites in his piece, representatives from the Philippine National Team have requested to talk to Byron Scott, but the odds of the head coach or the team releasing Clarkson from his responsibilities at Lakers’ camp are slim to none. In fact, per a report from Mike Trudell of Lakers.com it is strongly implied the Lakers would expect him back at camp:
However, the tournament extends into the start of Lakers’ training camp, which all NBA players under contract are required to attend. Lakers spokesman John Black told us that the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement gives players the right participate in international play if there is no injury issue.
The question, then, is whether Clarkson should play at all. The timing of the start of camp would still allow Clarkson to play in three games for the Philippines and then he could fly back to Los Angeles or, potentially, meet the team in Hawaii where camp convenes. Getting some burn in an intense international competition could be a great learning experience for the young guard and, in a way, get him as ready for camp as any other basketball activity in the lead up to camp.
However, even with that the case, I would argue the drawbacks are likely bigger than the benefits. Forget the injury risks, Clarkson is not only a key rotation player, he is still young enough where camp time represents learning time. Even a few days away can mean falling behind. Not just from an X’s and O’s standpoint, but from a chemistry one.
And when you add the injury risks back into the equation things get dodgier. Clarkson is still making less than a million dollars this season and will be a restricted free agent this summer. He is facing a crucial year in terms of guaranteeing his financial future and cannot risk jeopardizing that. Imagine him getting hurt in this tournament. Or, imagine Clarkson playing heavy minutes for the Philippines and then coming to a training camp led by a head coach notorious for rigorous practices where running players hard is the norm. That doesn’t sound like an ideal scenario.
As someone who also has Filipino heritage, I’d love nothing more than to see a Laker suit up for the Philippine National team and play a prominent role in their success. But, ultimately, the timing here just seems bad. Clarkson is still young enough that he can play in future tournaments and, hopefully, one of them would be an Olympic Games. Considering he (reportedly) has committed to the Philippine National team through 2024, he has plenty of time to make his mark.
As much as I’d like for him to get that chance later this month, it seems it would be better that he didn’t.
As a half Filipino, I really hope Clarkson will play and Byron would let him. Clarkson would instantly be the best player and team leader. The lessons JC will learn as the lead quarterback of a team in international competition vying for an Olympic berth is much more valuable than a few days of Byron’s camp drills. Sure, there’s an injury risk. But if JC can lead the Philippines to a berth in Rio, he will become legend. His endorsement deals in Asia will be in the 20M+ range.
not speculation or anything, but if its on my mind, it could easily be on his…
i keep thinking that…
is he holding out on the Philippine national squad now due to the fact that there is a slim chance he would be picked for the US “selected team” if he continues to improve and progress next season?
if that is the case staying out now would make a lot of sense… To have a chance to even practice/run-scrimmage with best of the best here in a year or two is worth the wait for him, given that he is still so young…
I like sam’s take of bigger fish to fry. I feel it applies more immediately too, in the sense that this is a big year and he’s a key part of it, thinking positively. They want to make noise. Is it playoff noise? It can at least be a rising, but that means focusing, not taking your own journey when the team begins its own progression.
Oh and playoffs.
Sam – he’s 23. Not really young.
Craig W. says
Ahhhhh! 23 – not really young.
For us oldsters, that is still a young player, just seasoned with college.
PGs/SGs don’t usually come into their own until after a few years in the league. Dwayne Wade at 23/24, Kobe at 22/23, CP3 22, Westbrook 22. And each of these players made their jump after 2-3 complete NBA seasons. The expectation that Clarkson will exceed in his development even these greats is unfair. Not that I’m predicting that level of greatness. But not everyone can be LeBron.
I’m excited to see if/how he experiences a jump in the level of his game…
I’m all for him participating in the Philippines. The Lakers are an international brand, and the Philippines has a large population interested in basketball. It seems like a good business decisions, with potential value in supporting Clarkson’s development as a leader and player. I’m for it… but I don’t see it happening.
Warren Wee Lim says
As a Filipino, Clarkson would be a valuable piece in the pace/space offense we play. I watched the Gilas team earn 2nd place in the 37th Jones cup only because Iran is invincible due to its size.
Worth noting, JC5 won’t be playing point for the Gilas team anytime soon. More like the 3.
Damian lillard was pretty great his sophomore year, also finished college
Clarkson hasn’t even finished his sophomore year yet! Which is what me and Craig are trying to get at, regarding the poster that called him old. He’s just beginning his second NBA season. Let’s pray for a Damien Lillard level talent in Clarkson.
Warren Wee Lim says
From 2 threads ago, re: Laker predictions, etc.
It might be worth noting that in each of the last 2 seasons, I had placed my predictions at 50 wins.
This could be the third year I would do that. Well, this time, its 45.
The Lakers are far from being a complete team, but we do look more of a team compared to 2-3 seasons ago. All the dysfunction aside, all that’s happened (worst 2 seasons in history) and not happened (grabbing 2 max free agents), here we are now, and this is the only thing we have, so let’s discuss:
Roy Hibbert is a stiff offensively, he won’t contribute much there. But he remains a very very very good defensive center, arguably elite. Just what we need too. Fit and change of scenery can alter the trajectory of his career, but all that can also follow the path of destruction. To the others who endlessly blame the front office, if this Hibbert experiment blew up, all it really cost us was a 2nd rounder. Some people would really make a mountain out of that molehill.
Defensively, the Lakers CAN play defense now. All because we have the younger legs to do so. The question is whether we would do it. Its not easy to play for Byron Scott and his outdated ways, ironic how much better we would’ve been hiring Mike D’ Antoni having THIS lineup.
Now I cannot quantify how much better we will be from last season and the season before, but it will be. Randle is unknown, so is Russell. I’ve seen so much improvement from JClark5on in the summer league but that’s against unproven players.
How well we respond to Scott and what we do defensively will be as far as it will take us.
james katt says
17 years old is newborn
19 years old is adolescent
23 years old is still young and dumb enough to make a lot of mistakes.
26 years old nearing adult-hood
28 years old is the peak of adult-hood
30+ years old is old age.
36+ years old is very old age, grandparent.
Baylor Fan says
I am for Clarkson playing for the Philippine National Team for almost the same reasons given for staying at home. Even though he should be a key rotation player, the makeup of the roster suggests that he will at most play 24 min/game. The Lakers are not competing for anything other than respect this season so being worn out by the playoffs is not an issue. He will miss a few days of training camp. I have to think the coaching will be better for the PNT and it appears that Clarkson is in good shape. The risk of injury is very real but that is Clarkson’s decision to make. The experience of being a key player in high leverage games will not be matched by anything the Lakers do this season. Finally, doing well on the international stage could do wonders for Clarkson’s confidence going into a potentially trying NBA season.
Warren – I think JC5 will fill the big shoes that Jimmy left. It’s a no brainer – if he holds out hope of being selected for the US team, he’ll have to compete with the likes of Russ, Lillard, CP3, Mike Conley, Steph, Mudiay, Elfrid, etc. etc. Even if he somehow gets selected (2% chance), then he’ll just be a benchwarmer. If JC5 plays for the Philippines, he’s the man. He’s Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in one, instantly. And given the basketball craziness in Asia, his endorsement offers will go through the roof.
Ethnically, I share a similar breakdown to Jordan Clarkson. My maternal grandfather was Filipino (his mother is half Filipino). The remainder of my mother’s family is mixed African-American in one manner or another, as is my father’s family. I did not grow up with any exposure to Filipino culture or history. I was raised in the United States as an African-American, as was he (the family that I was exposed to on an everyday basis). I do not consider myself to be a Filipino (though it is a crucial part of my ethnic makeup) and as I did not grow up in the Philippines, I would never consider playing for that nation. In previous years, countries have poached moderate NBA talent in order to compete on an international stage (Chris Kamen playing for Germany immediately comes to mind) and I consider that to be a farce. To me, this seems to be primarily an opportunity for marketing for the purpose of self promotion.
Idle – I think Clarkson’s situation is different though. Chris Kaman playing for Germany is a farce. Andre Blatche playing for the Philippines is a total travesty. Becky Hammon playing for Russia is a farce. But Clarkson’s mom is full Filipino, and she applied for a Philippine passport for JC when he was 14.
VI Guy says
“To me, this seems to be primarily an opportunity for marketing and for the purpose of self promotion…”.
–The NBA, itself, is primarily about marketing and self-promotion. More power to Jordan if he can expand his brand. Not to mention,it benefits the Lakers who are already pretty beloved in the Philippines.
Darius Soriano says
If you can’t follow the commenting guidelines, your comments will get deleted. So, yeah.
Craig W. says
I have no idea what you tried to post – and don’t really care – but simply calling Darius a communist as a way to insult someone would seem to be way out of line.
Darius has gone out of his way to keep this blog non-political and I am not sure what you would be talking about – except maybe that you equate Darius to the ‘state’ and don’t like his rules. I would remind you that those rules evolved with Kurt, back around 2005, and they have served this site well. It is one of the most respected blogs in the sports universe. Perhaps you need to take a chill pill before you start spouting ‘names’.
You have your experience and identity and Clarkson has his own. It seems really presumptuous to speak to how he identifies based on your experience. Many people have had their cultures forcibly marginalized, and it’s inspiring to see young people like Clarkson reclaiming that identity in a self-affirming and positive way. He’s connecting with the likes of Pacquiao and making a career-long commitment to their team. Plus, going to the Olympics is a pretty big deal in terms of individual accomplishments for any athlete. Good for Clarkson.
Im all for players representing their country if they desire to do so, it helps the game itself, but if it’s going to get in the way of the bigger responsability to play for the team that pays him i would think twice. @Warren im optimistic but you beat me sir, 45 wins? I hope so but i doubt it, i would be fine with 35 wins.