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Utah’s Jordan Clarkson wins Sixth Man of the Year

Michael Holley and Michael Smith agree that the Utah Jazz playing it safe with Donovan Mitchell was a questionable decision because Utah cannot afford to not have their 'engine' on the court in the playoffs.

At the midway point in the season, Jordan Clarkson looked like the runaway winner for Sixth Man of the Year. However, after the All-Star break his efficiency dropped: 30.4% shooting overall, 32.3% from 3, and a true shooting percentage of 52 that was well below the league average. Clarkson still put up points — 18.9 per game after the break — but his teammate Joe Ingles was racking up numbers at a historically efficient pace.

Clarkson held on to win the Sixth Man of the Year award, the NBA announced Monday. Ingles was there to present him the award on TNT Monday night.

“For me, it was tough my first couple years,” Clarkson said on the broadcast about adjusting to coming off the bench. “I started in L.A. [with the Lakers]... just coming into myself, trying to find the impact I could have in this game and what I could bring to it. When I got that role, I just kind of took it and worked at it, and this situation, being traded here to Utah from Cleveland, really enhanced everything.”

Clarkson also said winning the award was a surprise to him. He added he grew up watching Manu Ginobili, who “made this role cool to me.” He gave a lot of credit to three-time Sixth Man Lou Williams for the advice he gave Clarkson, some of which took years for him to understand and accept.

Clarkson averaged a career-high 18.4 points a game and was a primary shot creator for the Jazz’s second units. Clarkson made 203 3-pointers this season, the most in a single season for a player coming off the bench in NBA history.

Clarkson got 65 first-place votes and appeared on 85 ballots (out of 100, the award is voted on by a selected group of NBA writers). He had 407 points on the NBA’s tallying system.

Ingles finished second with 36 first-place votes and 272 points. The Knicks’ Derrick Rose finished third with 77 points. Dallas reserves Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. rounded out the top five vote getters.