He may not have the stats to earn the Sixth Man of the Year award, but Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson is giving the Cleveland Cavaliers bench a lift.
The Cavs’ coaching staff struggled to find their five-man starting combination, a dilemma that actually began at the start of this season. They unveiled a total of 27 different starting line-ups, 14 coming after a trio of trades brought Clarkson, Larry Nance, Jr., and George Hill to the Cavs.
One staple fixture in their bench, though, is Clarkson who played all his 24 games with the Cavs from the bench and is averaging 23 and a half minutes a game.
Since arriving from the Los Angeles Lakers last February, Clarkson is entering the ballgame packing a punch with his 13.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists to relieve the starters.
The Cavaliers are up by a total of 24 points every time he is on the floor during those 24 games. The Cavaliers seem to have found their right man to allow them to keep up with their opposition while the starters take a seat.
It’s no surprise that while the Cavs performed below Lebron James’ standards with the new players on board, wining just eight of their first 15 games after the trade happened; they are on a roll in their last 10 as the newcomers became accustomed with their roles for Cleveland.
The winning run started with a victory at Chicago on March 17, racking up nine wins capped with the latest win, a victory against the Toronto Raptors at home, as we go to the press.
The bench gig is nothing new for Clarkson.
After starting 117 out of the 138 for the Lakers, including 79 of 79 during the 2015-16 season, he played during his first two years, he only started in 21 of 135 games during his last one and a half years with them. That includes 19 of 82 last season and 2 of 53 this year.
He averaged 29.18 minutes as a starter and came up with a 14.00 point, 3.65 rebound, and 2.88 assist average.
In contrast, his minutes were down by two a game, averaging 27.06 coming off the bench. His points per game climbed a notch at 14.64, which offset the decline in his average rebounds (3.00 a game) while maintain his average assists per game (2,86).
Clarkson’s production is a beauty to behold as it packs consistency, whether he is starting or coming off the bench, and is increasing as he continues to grow as an NBA fixture.
Converted to a per 36-minute values, meaning had he played 36 minutes each game at his actual production, he would come out with the following averages:
While he was doing a little better for the Lakers, his numbers with them are off little meaning as the Lakers are in full rebuilding mode, missing the playoffs during his tenure.
His slightly lower production for Cleveland, however, will definitely mean a lot in their quest deep playoff appearance and the possible championship ring run with James serving as engine for Cavalier starters.
By: ARMANDO BOLISLIS, Statistics from Basketball-reference.com.