It’s about time for the Utah Jazz to see their first Sixth Man of the Year.
Some argue Jordan Clarkson isn’t even the true “sixth man” in the Utah Jazz rotation. They say that another key reserve and fill-in starter for these league-leading Jazzmen (46-19), Joe Ingles, is actually more deserving of the 2020-21 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award despite the national hype piling up around his teammate’s campaign.
But while “Slow-Mo Joe” warrants appreciation for his silky lefty stroke in addition to his floor-general traits, there exist three Clarkson gifts that point to the “Flame Thrower” as the stronger SMOTY candidate.
So let’s look at each, one at a time, beginning with the most obvious…
Why the Utah Jazz guard deserves Sixth Man of the Year: Buckets
At 17. 4 points per game, Jordan Clarkson shames all NBA bench weapons this season.
A large chunk of this production comes beyond the arc, where the seventh-year pro is averaging a career-high 3.0 makes for a squad that’s on pace to set the NBA record with 16.9 deep splashes per outing.
OK, so Clarkson also is a bit of a wild man at times, forcing shots from all over the floor with little regard for traffic standing in his way. Yes, he’s hitting only 41.5 percent of his field-goal attempts and only 34.4 percent from downtown.
No biggie. Clarkson’s primary job is to come in and create baskets at the rate of the two All-Star starters who have both missed multiple recent Jazz games in Donovan Mitchell (sprained ankle) and Mike Conley (hamstring soreness). After all, even his ugliest clanks generate opportunities for offensive rebounds from Rudy Gobert & Co. down low.
Now, another Clarkson gift…