The Utah Jazz has seen Jordan Clarkson fall into a good groove over the last three games, but is it for real?
We’re no longer sure if the Utah Jazz is a good team having a bad stretch of games to start the season, or if the Jazz are a bad team who fooled everyone into thinking they could be a good team during the last few months. We’re not sure, and a lot of reasons why that has become the case is the struggles of the guards on the team. Namely Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Jordan Clarkson.
Sexton has bounced back nicely and Horton-Tucker was never a real threat to any other NBA teams, but Clarkson was the one who struggled the most and struggled the longest. Jazz head coach Will Hardy limited how Sexton and Horton-Tucker impacted the team but let Clarkson go off despite being one of the worst shooters in the league.
Now the Jazz are 4-7 and struggling to get back into contention for a playoff spot, when they should’ve been one of the top teams in the NBA’s Western Conference.
And a lot of that revolves around Clarkson not just struggling, but taking a bulk of the shots that the Jazz take in a given game. Considering that Lauri Markkanen is widely seen as the face of the team, his desire to take more shots than the man dubbed the Finnisher is irritating a lot of people. Especially since he’s shooting about 30% from the floor for the bulk of the season.
Yet, over the last three games Clarkson has started to shine a bit. Over the last three games, he’s shooting 50.5% from the floor, 41% from three, he’s gone 14-14 from the free throw line, and he’s averaging just under 30 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 4 assists per game.
His defense is still dog water bad, but it’s always been; so that’s not a new thing. The issue with the last three games, however, has been his turnovers. He has had 10 across those three games alone, a huge contributor to the Jazz being the worst team in the league when it came to turnovers.
But his shots are falling finally. Is this a sign that Clarkson is back? Maybe. But maybe not. The three teams that Clarkson has cooked were the Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Portland Trail Blazers.
In other words, the 26th, 18th, and 19th “best” (and we use that term loosely) teams in the NBA for opponent field goal percentages. That’s a long and drawn-out way of saying they suck on defense.
So it’s hard to say that Clarkson’s uptick in efficiency is legit, as the Jazz have faced terrible defense after terrible defense. The Phoenix Suns are in the Top 10 of this category, so if Clarkson can cook them, then maybe the former Sixth Man Award Winner is back.
If he can’t, however, then it may be likely that Clarkson just took advantage of a few bad defenses.