Credit where it's due, Jordan Clarkson has turned around his season. Once seen as an albatross around the Utah Jazz's neck, the former Sixth Man of the Year struggled to find his grove and shot against the best the NBA had to offer. His shooting numbers were the worst of his career, and he was a door frame with no door on defense, capable of stopping nothing.
While still not a great defender, he's at least started to put in some effort, and his offensive numbers have been ticking up ever since he was moved to the bench. The move ended any conversation on Clarkson being an elite guard in the league, or even a Top 100 player, but it also allowed him to have better matchups against lesser talents.
No longer having to deal with the Marcus Smarts of the league for long stretches of time, Clarkson is now matching up with bench players who are having a hard time stopping him, and for good reason. Clarkson still has that great first step and his ability to finish in the paint isn't something to sleep on.
Clarkson was shooting under 40% from the floor and 30% from three for a spell, but since moving to the bench, he's gotten his shooting average up to 41.1% from the floor and 31.7% from three, markedly higher than his previous figures. Not only that but in the month of January alone he's shooting just shy of 47% from the floor and just shy of 36% from three.
He's looking every bit the player he used to be prior to the start of this season. He's far more consistent, but it should be noted the issues with Clarkson aren't gone, they're just being managed. Clarkson wasn't good enough to be the number two guy on the team, and he's not. Not anymore. That's Collin Sexton's job now.
Moving Clarkson to the bench has allowed him to make the most out of facing off against backups and situational role players, something he wasn't able to do before. Clarkson isn't some great scorer, he's just a nice, high-volume shooter who can give you big minutes off the bench. That's his sweet spot. Moving him from that role would be determinantal to the team and his career.