The gap for the Sixth Man of the Year award for this season continues to grow as Jordan Clarkson once again showed a jaw-dropping performance en route to their 134-123 win over Philadelphia.
The Filipino-American guard erupted for 40 points off the bench. He shot 13-20 from the field as well as 8-13 from the three-point line.
That win helped the white-hot Utah bag its eighth-consecutive win, which puts them closer to once again putting up an 11-game win steak – which is their season-high.
There have been plenty of nights this season where Clarkson has been arguably the second-best player in this Jazz squad, only behind their superstar Donovan Mitchell. He’s been averaging 18.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists in 46.2% shooting from the field and 38.5% shooting from deep in 25.9 minutes of playing time.
He averaged 19.7 points during their 11-game winning steak last month and now, during their current eight-game run, he’s once again been putting up 19.5 points per game off the bench.
Clarkson definitely earned the respect of his teammates and the rest of the league. Jazz star Donovan Mitchell even hyped up his teammate by cooling him down with water.
Utah veteran Joe Ingles gave respect to his younger teammate, stating that this is the first time, he played with someone like Clarkson.
Utah has been the best team in the NBA this season with a 23-5 record, playing better than the Lakers, Clippers, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
Clarkson has been a big part of that success, and his ability to score the ball and make big plays takes the pressure off the Jazz when Mitchell sits.
He’s also on one of the best contracts in the NBA if you’re looking at production vs. money made. He’s currently in the first year of his $51.2 million contract extension with the Jazz, and this is what his yearly salary will look like:
- 2020-21: $11,500,000
- 2021-22: $12,420,000
- 2022-23: $13,340,000
- 2023-24: $14,260,000
His deal runs out at age 31, which means that the Jazz will be looking to seeing Clarkson play productive years until the contract runs out. That makes him one of the best bargains in the NBA.
This becomes especially important true considering that the Jazz have locked up just a little over $368 million in the long-term extensions given to Mitchell and defensive star Rudy Gobert. Both of their deals run through to the end of the 2025-26 season. That means that they’re not going to be able to afford signing any quality free agents for half a decade.
Clarkson has proven that he can be a difference-maker for the Jazz. If he continues to play strong, and his two superstar teammates continue to play well, we could potentially see the NBA Finals back in Salt Lake City since Michael Jordan hit the most famous shot of his career in 1998.
The Jazz play the Clippers next on Thursday at 11 AM Manila time.
Do you think Clarkson is the 6MOTY? Do you think the Jazz can finally get over the hump this season? Sound off in the comment section!