Photo credit: Jordan Clarkson/Instagram
The Sixth Man of the Year award (6MOY) is awarded to the best NBA player who comes off the bench as a substitute for the starter and we think Jordan Clarkson deserves the award.
Filipino hoop junkies have been following the NBA career of our kababayan Jordan Clarkson ever since the Los Angeles Lakers drafted him as the 46th overall back in 2014.
The once hidden gem proved to be the steal of the draft that year and has developed into quite the dependable scorer since then.
Sure, Clarkson may not be a franchise player or even an All-Star, but no one can deny that he has been extremely valuable to the success that the Utah Jazz is enjoying right now. The team with the best record in the NBA also owns the best second unit in the league. This is mostly because the Filipino-American has been a guaranteed walking bucket for them every night.
In the 61 games played so far, Clarkson has been averaging 17.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists, while making 41.4% of his shots from the field, 34.1% clip from long range, and an outstanding 92.2% success rate from the charity stripe.
With stats like that, Clarkson would be a great asset to our homegrown Gilas team and he’s definitely down to don the jersey.
READ: Jordan Clarkson wants another Gilas stint
The amazing season he’s been having was made even better by his highlight dunk against the Toronto Raptors.
Photo credit: Jordan Clarkson/Instagram
Still not convinced that Jordan Clarkson is the best bench player in the league this season? Allow us to change your mind.
Clarkson held the fort in Mitchell’s absence
The Jazz have been without its best player Donoval Mitchell over the last nine games due to a bum ankle. Still, they are currently tied with the Phoenix Suns for the best record in the league at 47-18.
Clarkson sliding into the starting line-up had a lot to do with that. His ability to score paved the way for head coach Quin Snyder to push through with the Jazz’s high-octane offense even without Spida.
Sure, the 28-year-old guard has struggled shooting the ball as of late, but he still finished in double-figure score.
Let’s not forget that Clarkson did learn from some of the sport’s all-time greats. He played with the late Kobe Bryant back in his rookie season, followed by a brief partnership with LeBron James as a Cleveland Cavalier.
READ: Mamba and Mambacita forever! Remembering the life of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna
Clarkson has become a better all-around player
Clarkson has always been known for his ability to score and his seamless transition in playing both guard positions. The streaky shooter, of course, still gets criticized for being a bit too trigger-happy from time to time and his shot selection is not always great.
Still, the strides he made to become a better overall player is quite evident this year. The 6’5’ guard is averaging a career-best 4.0 rebounds per game, all the while exerting more effort on the defensive side of the ball.
Plus, he’s been a durable player for most of his career, and has only missed four games for the Jazz all season.
Clarkson is a cut above the rest
As far as competition for the 6MOY award goes, Clarkson’s biggest rival is actually his own teammate Joe Ingles. The Australian sniper is also having a fine year off the bench for Utah, norming 12.3 points on a sizzling 46.9% shooting from past the arc.
Then, there’s former Sixth Man winner Eric Gordon, who is actually scoring more than JC off the bench, tallying 18.8 points for the Rockets. However, unlike Clarkson who only started when Mitchell got injured, Gordon has been in and out of Houston’s starting line-up this year.
Magic guard Terrence Ross should also be considered, as is reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner Montrezl Harrell of the Lakers. Chris Boucher, Shake Milton, and even former MVP Derrick Rose have all made strong cases as of late.
But as far as overall impact to the team goes, none of these guys can hold a candle to what Clarkson has done for the Jazz.
READ: Clarkson, Jazz reach 50-win mark; Warriors win on Filipino Heritage night
Do you believe that Jordan Clarkson deserves to win his first major individual award this season?