WITH Zaza Pachulia surprisingly ending up near the top of the NBA All-Star voting after the first returns, Filipino basketball fans have turned up the call to get Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Jordan Clarkson into the midseason spectacle.
Clarkson duly obliged, embracing the clamor on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) with a post on his Twitter account saying he’d be more than willing to represent the Philippines in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game on February 19.
The 24-year-old Clarkson thanked the support and the push from Filipino fans to get him into the All-Star Game, particularly noting a poster from the Jordan Clarkson PH Facebook fan page that he shared on his Twitter handle @JClark5on.
If given the chance, the Fil-Am guard expressed his pride in carrying the Philippine flag should he be voted as an All-Star starter.
“Spotted this on a Facebook fan page today. Thanks for the #NBAVote support! I’d be proud to rep all of you at the All-Star Game,” he wrote on his post.
But Clarkson, though, has seen his numbers dip in a bench role under new coach Luke Walton, after thriving with career-highs in his sophomore year as a starter last season.
From averaging 32 minutes and posting 15.5 points with 4 rebounds and 2.4 assists last season, Clarkson just gets 27.4 minutes of action off the bench with averages of 13.8 points, 2.9 boards and 2.1 dimes in 41 games so far this year.
Naturally, the third-year guard didn’t crack the top 10 vote-getters from the fans among a stacked list of Western Conference guards in the first returns released on Thursday.
Steph Curry led the way with 523,597 votes, with James Harden close by at 519,446. Russell Westbrook is at third with 501,652 votes. If you'r curious, 10th place belongs to Zach LaVine with a tally of 53,462.
However, Pachulia’s surprise rise as the second highest frontcourt player in the West with 439,675 votes inspired local basketball fan groups, starting with Lakers Nation Philippines, to make a late push for Clarkson.
“If Georgia can do it for Zaza, why can’t the Philippines, a basketball nation, do it for JC?” wrote the fan group on Facebook last Friday.
Fans still have five days to vote for the All-Star starters, with fan votes making up 50 percent of the vote, and players and media votes taking up 25 percent each.
Westbrook and Harden, though, have been beasting out with incredible numbers that they’re currently leading the NBA MVP race, plus Curry’s been a long-time fan favorite in All-Star votes.
Hard to see Clarkson bumping off anyone from that list, but With the Philippines as the world’s top social media users, getting the Fil-Am guard into the All-Star Game is not as unthinkable as it might seem.