Utah Jazz: Jordan Clarkson might be the NBA’s most impressive mid-season addition

Back in December, the state of the Utah Jazz bench unit was a sight for sore eyes. After acquiring Jordan Clarkson in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, however, the Jazz bench has wasted no time in becoming a scoring strength for Quin Snyder.

December 23rd seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it, Utah Jazz fans?

No worries — if you too have the memory of a goldfish, here’s a quick refresher for you:

That was the day Adrian Wojnarowski dropped his first mid-season trade “bomb” of the 2019-2020 year. The Utah Jazz played a meaningful role in it, as they agreed to send Dante Exum and two second-round picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Jordan Clarkson.

And while mid-season trades can sometimes leave NBA fans scratching their heads, you didn’t need to be in on any kind of high-level executive meeting with Justin Zanik and Dennis Lindsey to know what they were trying to do by bringing Clarkson onboard

Improve the Jazz bench; more specifically, the bench’s ability to score the basketball. You see, up to that point, it’d sucked — the Jazz bench ranked 29th in scoring at 26.9 points per game.

Blessed day: Clarkson’s arrival has quickly turned things around.

What was once one of the worst bucket-getting benches in the league has improved from 26.9 points per game to 36.8 points per game — league-wide, good enough to occupy the 18th spot.

And that’s an efficient 36.8 points per game, mind you.

Before the Clarkson trade, the Jazz bench produced an abysmal plus-minus rating of -71, giving them the 25th worst rating of that kind in the Association. To date, the Jazz bench boasts a +19 rating — the eighth-best rating of its kind.

Don’t limit Clarkson’s impact to the bench unit, though …

Whether working alongside a handful of Jazz starters or the rest of his bench-warming cohorts, when he’s on the floor, the Jazz have an offensive rating of 113.6 — not to mention the NBA’s highest-rated offense during the 23 games he’s suited up for Utah since late December.

Most impressive, though?

Advanced metrics aside, Clarkson’s impact has translated into real, reliable (kind of) wins for a Jazz team that’s jockeying for a favorable playoff seed out West. In fact, in spite of the Jazz’s recent five-game skid, the team still boasts a 17-6 record since Clarkson’s arrival — a 60-win pace any way you slice it, peeps.

On a franchise-boosting level, Clarkson’s value is apparent. But individually, without any kind of bias, his personal numbers put him in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year, as well — right alongside guys like Dennis Schröder, Derrick Rose, Spencer Dinwiddie and Lou Williams.

Seriously, check out his per 36-minute stats since first donning J-Note purple:

  • 22.6 PPG
  • 48.0 FG%
  • 37.4 3PT%
  • 58.4 TS%

See what I mean?

No, Clarkson’s name doesn’t carry with it the “sexiness” of a Clint Capela, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Wiggins, D’Angelo Russell or Robert Covington. But as far as legitimate basketball Xs and Os are concerned, he’ll have more of an impact on his team than any of the aforementioned.

Next: Who should the Jazz hope to face in the playoffs?

He did work last night against the Dallas Mavericks; he’ll look to do more of the same on Wednesday night at 7 p.m MST as the Utah Jazz hope to earn their fourth consecutive win against the Miami Heat at home in Salt Lake City.

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