SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Jordan Clarkson is the first Utah Jazz player to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Clarkson led all NBA reserves in scoring with 18.3 points per game, a career-high, off the bench, to go along with 4.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists, becoming the first player since Manu Ginobili in 2007-08 to average over 18 points, four boards and two assists as a reserve.
“It’s been a journey,” Clarkson said. “I’m really excited. It came as a surprise to me.”
Jazz guard Joe Ingles was also a finalist, and presented the trophy to Clarkson live on TNT.
“He stole it from me,” Ingles joked. “I should’ve stopped passing him the ball.”
“Thanks for passing me this ball, man,” Clarkson said.
Clarkson hit a league-best 203 three-point field goals off the bench, which was the most in the NBA and fourth most threes by a reserve in NBA history. His 3.0 threes made per game average was the third best three-point rate by a player coming off the bench all-time.
Clarkson had 23 games with 20-or-more points, five games with 30-or-more points and two 40-plus point contests in 2020-21, the most by any player off the bench all season. He was the first player since Lou Williams during the 2018-19 season with multiple 40-point games as a reserve.
Clarkson, who has played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cavaliers in addition to the Jazz over the course of his seven-year NBA career, received 65 of the 100 first-place votes cast by the global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters that vote for all of the league’s various season-long awards.
“My first couple years because I started in L.A. during that time,” Clarkson said. “But just coming to myself and trying to find the impact I can have in this game, and what I can bring to it. When I got that role I just kind of took it, worked at it, and this situation being traded here to Utah from Cleveland, it really enhanced everything, just because everybody knows their role, and knows what they are doing.”
Ingles finished second in the voting with 34 first place votes, while New York’s Derrick Rose ended up third in the voting.
While Clarkson acknowledged winning the award is nice, he has bigger goals on his mind, like winning and NBA championship.
“We’re going for something else,” Clarkson said. “We’ve got bigger goals ahead of us. That’s what we’re trying to go get.”