Jordan Clarkson has had one hell of a season. He played in 68 out of 72 regular season games, started only once, but still averaged 18.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 2.5 APG. He was the second-leading scorer on the Utah Jazz team that went 52-20 for the best record this season and was an integral part of their success.
That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising that he won the Sixth Man of the Year award this season.
He’s had some great outings this season, too, the best of which was his 41-point outburst in a close loss to the Golden State Warriors a couple of weeks ago.
Clarkson has really found a home with the Utah Jazz and their system, and it’s telling that he’s second in scoring despite the Jazz having a total of six players averaging double figures in points this season. The Jazz play great team ball, and Clarkson’s teammate Joe Ingles was actually second in voting.
It’s never easy for someone to accept a bench role, and it takes a willingness to sacrifice for the team to check your ego and not insist on a starting position. Clarkson probably has the talent to be a starter on a number of other NBA teams, but he’s focused on success.
Stars are important to a team, and the Jazz have two in Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, but having solid contributors off the bench is just as important to teams that want to have sustained success and contend for championships. Manu Ginobli did it for the Spurs, and that helped extend their dynasty and win more championships.
The Jazz have dreams of chasing titles, and they’re going to need to figure things out after suffering a surprise defeat at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their first round series. We’ll have to see how that goes but for now, let’s celebrate Clarkson’s success.
Congratulations, JC, keep doing what you’re doing.