He played too fast and his body broke down.
Clarkson, 26, is in Las Vegas while the Cavaliers are here for NBA Summer League to work individually with coach Tyronn Lue. They put in a session Tuesday while the summer leaguers practiced at a high school on the south side of town.
Clarkson was second in the NBA in bench scoring last season with 13.9 points per game. But he was traded to the Cavs from the Lakers on Feb. 8, and within two months time was playing for the first time in the postseason. It was mostly a disaster.
Clarkson averaged just 4.7 points. He shot 30 percent from the field and 23.9 percent from 3-point range (he shot 45.1 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from 3 during the regular season). He averaged 0.7 assists in the playoffs, and occasionally fell out of Lue's playoff rotation.
In an interview on Tuesday, Clarkson said he needed to "slow down" when he was on the court in the playoffs, looking for the open man and considering the defense in front of him instead of hurrying toward a shot.
And the other thing...
"And in terms of my body and stuff, I have to take care of my body all year, because like I said this was my first time playing after April, but it's those guys that keep up with themselves, keep playing at that high level, taking care of their bodies," Clarkson said. "That's a big thing for me this summer. I got a new strength guy out in L.A. that I've been working with. He's got me on a diet and stuff like that, so I've been focusing in the weight room so I can be ready for those times and keep prolonging myself so I can stay at a high level."
Clarkson said his new Los Angeles trainer has changed his diet and has him focused in the weight room. At 6-5, Clarkson has a lean 194-pound frame. He said he's trying to add muscle.
The Lakers were bad in Clarkson's three-plus seasons there. He logged 81 of a possible 82 games for L.A. and Cleveland this season; he played all 82 the year before and 79 the season before that.
The Cavs acquired Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and Cleveland's 2018 first-round pick. Clarkson has two years and about $26 million left on his contract.
Lue said he wants Clarkson to be more like veteran Jamal Crawford — an explosive bench scorer who can also distribute the ball for his teammates. That's the focus of Lue's workouts with Clarkson out here.
Speaking more about his first season in Cleveland, which ended in The Finals after being swept by the Warriors, Clarkson called it a learning experience he said prepared him for the Cavs' next playoff run.
Maybe he hasn't heard, but most NBA people in Las Vegas this week don't think that's going to happen, with LeBron James on the Lakers and all.
"I feel like we're going to shock a lot of people this year just because LeBron left," Clarkson said. "I feel great about the team, coaching staff. They got a lot of belief in guys, so I'm just ready to strap it up and get ready for the season now."