We’re now four weeks into the season, and as expected, the strongest candidates for the individual awards are starting to emerge. True to the norm, we’re likely to see a good race for each, including Sixth Man of the Year, a hardwood reserved for the season’s most efficient player off-the-bench.
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson is among the guys who are in the running for 6MOY, and deservingly so. As the games continue to roll along, it’s apparent that he has found a good fit in Salt Lake City, as evident in his consistently solid play.
Heading into Sunday’s home game against the Golden State Warriors, which they eventually won in a 127-108 rout, Clarkson revealed that capturing the award is one of his goals this season:
It makes sense that he has set his eyes on the award. The 28-year-old has been a key bench contributor for pretty much his whole career. He’s been on the second unit in five of his seven years in the league, and that’s across three teams and five different head coaches with varying styles, yet it’s only now that he’s getting truly noticed.
The Per 36 numbers per are very commendable as well as it greatly shows how offensively productive he can be in limited playing time. He’s posting 22.3 points per 36 minutes since his 2017-18 campaign.
Here’s Donovan Mitchell endorsing his teammate for the award:
How good are his chances for 6MOY?
It’s very good for now. The 12-4 Utah Jazz are currently riding an eight-game winning streak and Clarkson is playing well as their ‘Sixth Man,’ averaging career-highs 17.4 PPG on 48.5% shooting overall and 41.8% from three, all under within just 25.3 minutes of play.
With Mitchell having a handful of off-nights early on and Bojan Bogdanovic coming off a wrist injury, he also took on a bigger scoring role, which has resulted in him leading the team in points thrice in 16 games this season.
Furthermore, he ranks 40th in total points and 13th in threes made overall. He leads all regular bench players in both categories, so if Clarkson keeps his numbers in such a pace and Jazz maintain their standing out West, we can probably expect him to take the trophy home.
Of course, Clarkson will have to keep up with the other top guys in the race. There’s two that will likely be with him until season’s end: reigning winner Montrezl Harrell, who’s now contributing well for the Los Angeles Lakers, and rising two-way forward Chris Boucher, whose breakout campaign is also staking a claim for the Most Improved Player of the Year plum.
The Jazz will be back in action this Wednesday at 10:00 AM, Manila time. They’ll have their hands full against the defensive-minded New York Knicks, and it’s a good chance for Clarkson to continue strengthening his case.