SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 SPORTS) – So how does that Jordan Clarkson for Dante Exum trade look now?
Not many Jazz fans could have imagined the impact Clarkson would have on the Jazz, who have won eight in a row, 19 of 20, and have bolted to the NBA’s best record at 23-5.
While Exum has played in 30 total games since last December’s trade with Cleveland, Clarkson is the runaway favorite to win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.
After pouring in a season-high 40 points in just 29 minutes Monday night against Philadelphia, Clarkson got the water treatment poured on him by Donovan Mitchell.
“I tried to run from Don,” Clarkson said. “I’ve got to keep these braids in my hair for this road trip. So, I was trying to get out of the way a little bit. He still got me. But it’s always great to have your star embrace you.”
Clarkson has always been a scorer, but this year has been different. He’s averaging a career-high 18.2 points per game, shooting a career best 46 percent from the field. And it’s not just his 3-pointers that have been deadly. Clarkson is also attacking the rim like never before.
“I’m just shooting the shots that are available and they’re going in,” Clarkson said. “I’m coming into the game and being aggressive. That never changes if we’re up by 20 or down by 15. I think my role is kind of who I am.”
Clarkson has led the Jazz in scoring six times this year, second on the team only to Mitchell. Clarkson is the runaway favorite to win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award this season. He says a lot of his success can be attributed to the trust his team has in him.
“I believe in him,” said head coach Quin Snyder. “His teammates believe in him. He’s confident to begin with, but I think that takes him to a really good place mentally. He’s not bashful, and we don’t want him to be.”
“I’ve never played with anyone like JC in my lifetime,” guard Joe Ingles said. “It’s pretty cool to play with someone who is so locked in to what his role is and so comfortable in the role that he has.”
“Those guys always come over the bench and tell me to keep shooting it,” Clarkson said. “Even when I’m having an off night or if I’m hot, they still tell me to shoot the ball no matter what. It’s just love and I really appreciate that and I’m happy they embrace me like that.”
The Jazz next play at the L.A. Clippers Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m.