Jordan Clarkson has got to up his game if the Utah Jazz want to keep giving him huge minutes.
What happens if a player isn’t performing as well as he’s supposed to? More specifically, what happens when a player who only really does one thing well isn’t doing that one thing well anymore? That’s the situation the Utah Jazz have found themselves in with Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson, a skilled, high-volume shooter, has been anything but dynamic for the team through the Jazz’s first four games.
He’s shooting just 34.7 from the floor and 29.4, while rocking his lowest points per game total since his rookie year, at just 12.0 points per game. And yes, we know the usual argument is “It’s only the first week or so of the season, stop acting like the sky is falling!” But this isn’t new for Clarkson.
In fact, we saw his streaky shooting really on display during the FIBA World Cup. It’s true he nearly won a few games on his own during that international showcase, but he shot just 41% from the floor, and just 29% from three; all against less talented competition.
He’s never been a great three-point shooter, but he hasn’t been this bad. And the worst part is, if Clarkson isn’t hitting his shots, he offers nothing of value to the team. He’s currently averaging five assists per game but his career average is just 2.7. He’s never been a good defender, with a defensive box plus-minus of -1.5 for his career, but he’s even worse this season, posting a -4.4 DBPM.
The rotations that contain Clarkson are also just bad. The lineup that has seen the most minutes, the starting five of Clarkson, Talen Horton-Tucker, Lauri Markkanen, Walker Kessler, and John Collins has a net rating of -20.2 The lineups with the worst net rating (who have played more than one minute together) all contain Clarkson (-86.8, -70.5, -68.6).
Now, the team’s highest-rated offensive lineups all contain Clarkson as well, but we’ve seen he’s not playing well offensively on his own. His offensive box plus-minus for the year is -4.0. So he’s not exactly going to get his fair share of the credit for this group assignment. Just because he put his name on the final project doesn’t mean he contributed equally.
If Clarkson can’t get his shot back, the Jazz will have no choice but to bench him, if not move on from him entirely.
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