Coach Doc Rivers a ‘fan’ of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson from way back

first_imgCALL HIS NUMBERThe work hasn’t exactly been steady, but Patrick Patterson is OK with that.With 8.8 million viewers tuned in on Christmas Day, the 30-year-old forward joined the superstars on the court at the start of the high-profile proceedings, and he wound up playing 14 minutes and scoring four points in the Clippers’ victory over the Lakers.Patterson also started the previous game, a loss to Oklahoma City in which he logged 18 minutes and finished 5 for 7 from the floor. But before that, he hadn’t started since Dec. 9.In his first season with the Clippers, Patterson’s minutes have fluctuated from as many as 30 to fewer than three. There have been five games that he’s gotten just one shot and two games that he’s taken 10 or more. He’s started 11 games and been relegated to the bench on two other occasions.At shootaround Thursday, he described tapping into nine-plus NBA seasons to help him cope effectively with such an ever-shifting role.“From being a starter, being a guy who’s a focal point of a team, to being one of the guys who comes off the bench, to being a role player shooting 3s, I’ve just had different roles, different systems in my career and I’ve just been able to adapt,” Patterson said.“So credit to the coaches I’ve had, the players, the vets alongside who I’ve been able to talk to. It’s tough to accept certain roles — lesser roles — than what you want, but if the ultimate goal is to win and be successful, that should (be enough).”Patterson — who is averaging 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds and shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range, in 14.9 minutes per game — said he values straight talk from coaches to help him stay prepared for, well, anything.“The coaches are very black and white, which is something I appreciate,” he said. “If I’m not playing well, they tell me. If I need to work on something, they tell me. If I’m playing good, they tell me. So I think open communication is key, being able to accept and take constructive criticism and build off of that. We have that on this team.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error For his part, Clarkson’s earliest recollections of Rivers are fuzzier, though they’re also fond: “My dad was coaching over there, so they used to come play, we used to go to their house, chill. He always been a good person, that’s all I can really remember.”He has a more concrete memory of working out for the Clippers before his rookie season, and that it was helpful to have an old family friend involved with the process.“It was crazy, I went to work out for them as a rookie coming into the league, he was talking all them stories and stuff,” Clarkson said. “It’s just cool being on this stage, being able to him see me grow into who I am today.”Rivers said he thinks Utah will suit Clarkson, who has never experienced a winning season in the NBA; his 40-41 mark — split between the Lakers and Cavaliers in 2017-18 — is the closest he’s come to breaking even.“I’ve been a big Clarkson fan for a long time,” said Rivers of the offensive-minded guard, who is averaging 14.4 points per game this season. “I think he’s a great pickup, I really do, he can add scoring. And we’ll see, ’cause he hasn’t been in a lot of winning situations, but I think he’s with the right group, a very serious group on the floor. I think that’ll help him.”center_img LOS ANGELES — Doc Rivers is pulling for Jordan Clarkson.The Clippers coach has known Clarkson — who on Monday was traded from the Cleveland Cavalier to the Utah Jazz for Dante Exum and a pair of second-round draft picks — since he was 3 years old. He’s even got a photo somewhere to prove it, Rivers said.Mike Clarkson, Jordan’s dad, was active in the local sporting scene in San Antonio, where Doc Rivers played from 1994-96.“Just living in San Antonio, his dad would come over the house. His dad washed cars, did youth basketball and football. He was very popular in the San Antonio area, and I think he worked with some of my kids,” Rivers recalled before Saturday’s game against Clarkson’s new team.last_img


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