The Utah Jazz’s experiment of Talen Horton-Tucker and Jordan Clarkson needs to end.
The Utah Jazz are now 2-5 through seven games and it’s becoming obvious that this is a team that doesn’t just need more time and more practice together. This is a team that needs dramatic and drastic changes to its current setup. The team has been starting Talen Horton-Tucker, Jordan Clarkson, Lauri Markkanen, John Collins, and Walker Kessler through seven games.
Through seven games, Kessler is not getting good minutes, Collins is playing good offense but bad defense, Markkanen has been exactly as expected (All-Star level), and Horton Tucker and Clarkson have been flat-out bad.
The duo came into the season as known defensive liabilities, especially in the case of Clarkson. Yet, both men had an upside. Horton-Tucker was a good rebounder and passer, and Clarkson was a near-automatic bucket-getter. Now, not so much.
Clarkson is shooting just 36.5% from the floor and 30.6% from three, while Horton-Tucker is shooting just 38.8% from the floor and 32.1% from three. They’re also first and third on the team in turnovers, with Clarkson posting 3.3 per game and Horton-Tucker just shy of two.
Horton-Tucker has never been a good NBA player, so his bad start isn’t surprising, it was expected. He was just a career 43% shooter from the floor coming into the season and shot under 42% the last two seasons. Clarkson, on the other hand, was one of the best scorers for the Jazz just last season. And while he’s never been a super-efficient scorer, he’s never been this bad.
So what’s changed?
It’s fair to say not much, just his age. Clarkson is 31 years old and while that may not seem old to many, Lou Williams was declining as young as 33. Not everyone is the same, and bodies break down or last longer than others, but it’s possible that this isn’t a slump for Clarkson, but his new normal.
Either way, the Jazz need to salvage this season any way they can, and if it involves benching Clarkson and Horton-Tucker, then fine. The Jazz need to shake up this team because the squad as a whole is just bad.
They clearly need better guys than what they have in their starting lineup, so why not try Kris Dunn, Ochai Agbaji, and/or Keyonte George? At this point, what do you have to lose?