Jordan Clarkson has quickly transformed the Jazz bench after being acquired in a trade with the Cavaliers last week, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Clarkson was brought in to add more scoring punch, but he has also surprised with his defense while adding a burst of energy to the second unit.
“He’s been everything we thought he was going to be these past three games,” teammate Donovan Mitchell said, “and he’s learning all this on the fly and still playing well, and that’s tough to do.”
Clarkson is averaging 16.0 PPG in three games since joining the Jazz, including a 20-point outburst in last night’s win over the Pistons. Before the trade, Utah ranked next to last in the league in bench scoring at 26.9 points per night.
“I’m trying to learn every day,” he said. “When we come in for practice I’m very attentive and everyone is talking to me. I’m just trying to pick everything up as quick as possible.”
There’s more from Utah:
- Joe Ingles turned his season around this month by adjusting to the new way defenses are playing him, relays Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. Other teams have been copying the Rockets‘ playoff approach of shading to his left and forcing him to go right on screens. It took Ingles a while to adjust, but now he’s become proficient on 3-pointers while moving to his right. He has shot 55% from beyond the arc this month.
- Rookie forward Juwan Morgan may be headed for a larger role, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. Morgan was waived in training camp, but played well enough in the G League that the Jazz signed him last month. Utah likes Morgan’s defensive versatility, but there are questions about whether he can shoot well enough to become a regular part of the rotation.
- General manager Justin Zanik may not be done shaking up the roster after adding Clarkson last week and waiving Jeff Green to sign Rayjon Tucker, Jones suggests in a separate story. He notes that the Jazz could still use more depth on their reserve unit, including an upgrade at backup center, which is currently being handled by Tony Bradley and Ed Davis.