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Ty Lue singles out Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood as most impressive in preseason

Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood

On Saturday, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue was asked which players stood out most to him in preseason and his answer may surprise you: shooting guards Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood.

Per cleveland.com‘s Chris Fedor:

Lue was asked following Friday’s loss which player stood out during preseason. Without hesitation, Lue named Jordan Clarkson.

Here’s Lue on Hood:

The other player Lue singled out was Rodney Hood, who poured in 21 points in the preseason finale.¬†Hood has been told to be aggressive. Lue even smiled before saying there “is no line” that Hood can cross with his new-found attack mentality.

“He’s not going to take bad shots,” Lue said. “Need him to be aggressive in transition, we’re running plays for him so be aggressive in getting to the basket and he did a good job of that tonight. Has to continue to do that.”

Clarkson and Hood both faltered in the Cavaliers playoff run last season.

Clarkson fell out of the rotation halfway through the 2018 NBA Finals and Hood fell out of the rotation in the Eastern Conference semifinals but was reinserted in the rotation after Clarkson was removed.

In that playoff run, Clarkson averaged 4.7 points and 0.7 assists in 15.1 minutes per game while shooting 30.1 percent from the field and 23.9 percent from three-point range. Hood averaged 5.4 points per game on 42.4 percent shooting from the field and 16.7 percent shooting from three-point range.

Clarkson was ball-dominant and playing as if in a fit of hysteria, attacking relentlessly even though his shots weren’t falling. Hood was equally ineffective but had a completely different mindset. He was timid.

For both of them, their performance in the 2018 Eastern Conference Playoffs was a far cry from their career production so they set out to improve and prove themselves to the masses.

Clarkson found himself under Lue’s tutelage, practicing the fundamentals necessary to excel as a playmaker. He also got on a diet to remove excess body fat. Hood was hard at work in the offseason as well, packing on muscle, working on his game and getting in the film room.

The results have been borne out in the preseason, with Clarkson averaging 10.7 points and 2.7 assists in 17.8 minutes per game, shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range. Hood has been efficient, shooting 29.2 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from three-point range, but he’s averaged 11.7 points in 20.0 minutes per game hand his plus-minus of +5.3 was tied for the second-highest on the team with Cedi Osman.

There’s still work to do for both but they look a lot different than they did last season.

Clarkson is consistently trying to find teammates and doesn’t play at a blistering pace at all times, which helps the team play with rhythm. Hood has attacked the rim, the boards and has looked a lot more comfortable putting the ball on the floor to make a play for himself.

In fact, if you adjust his preseason averages to their per 36 minute counterparts, Clarkson averaged 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game while Hood averaged 21.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Those per 36 numbers would be career-highs for both.

*All stats gathered from NBA Advanced Stats and Basketball Reference

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