JORDAN Clarkson will definitely be a boost to Gilas Pilipinas once he becomes part of the national squad in the 2023 Fiba Basketball World Cup, but program director Tab Baldwin is not just high on the level of skill that the Utah Jazz standout can bring to the club.
Baldwin said he sees Clarkson, thanks to his basketball IQ, as someone capable of picking up schemes of Gilas Pilipinas that would be in place by the time 2023 comes, even in a situation where he will only be joining the national squad on short notice.
When asked how he will handle the situation of Clarkson joining the team one month before the competition during the recent episode of Zoom In on SPIN.ph, Baldwin said he doesn’t see any problem with it.
“When you have heard the figure ‘one month before’, that’s not a hard and fast figure,” said Baldwin, who led New Zealand to a fourth-place finish in the 2002 World Championships. “That represents an individual player that we are looking at. Certain players based on age, based on experience, based on time in the program, require more. Some require less. A professional player who has been around and has seen a lot will adapt much quicker.
“Again, here, I’m going to get in trouble with my bluntness. There might be some professional players out there and I’m not going to name any, but we might know from speaking to their coaches and watching them play, they are not the sharpest tool in the shed, but we know they are an outstanding player. You bring them in one week before and all they are going to do is disrupt all the chemistry,” Baldwin said.
The Gilas program director said Clarkson, a candidate for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, will definitely be a total opposite.
“We already know that a player like Jordan Clarkson is exceptionally intelligent. He can come in and pick up a large portion of our systems very, very quickly so you don’t have any issues with Jordan coming in late,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin’s expectations have already seen a precedent. In his first and only, thus far, stint with Gilas, Clarkson came into the team in the middle of the national team’s campaign in the 2018 Asian Games and just in time for its marquee match-up with China.
Despite arriving in Jakarta literally while its first game against Kazakhstan was ongoing, Clarkson was in no way a disruption to Gilas in their Jakarta campaign, with the squad finishing in fifth place in the competition.
Baldwin expects a different story if a player other than Clarkson will join the team on short notice. To make his point, Baldwin cited as an example in JaVale McGee, a player that was once considered as a naturalized player for Gilas Pilipinas several years ago.
“But if you take another player, let’s use somebody who I don’t know specifically but somebody who is mooted as a potential here many years ago but somebody how also has a reputation in the NBA as, let’s say, he takes a bit of time to acclimatize. Somebody like JaVale McGee. We are going to bring him at the last minute, I don’t know but I would anticipate that he wouldn’t be able to acclimate himself to complex systems very, very quickly. I could be wrong. I could be 100 percent wrong because I’ve never spent anytime with him. But by reputation, that’s what I might expect,” said Baldwin.
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