Jordan Clarkson relishes leadership role for Utah Jazz
MANILA, Philippines — Jordan Clarkson has been embracing his leadership role being one of the few holdovers in the revamped Utah Jazz this NBA season.
The 2021 NBA Sixth Man of the Year wasn’t only promoted as a starter, but he also emerged as a veteran leader for his team, which traded stars Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and other key players in the offseason.
“I’m embracing it well. From coach Will [Hardy], he has a lot of confidence in me, the organization, and as well as my teammates. Me being a guy in the league for 9 years now, it’s my time to share experiences, sharing my knowledge and put it together for this team,” said Clarkson during his virtual media availability with Philippine media on Friday.
“We are young. Some mix of young and experienced guys. But I think I’ve accepted a role and I’ve done a good job of trying to do duties in my ninth year,” he added.
Like what he did with Gilas Pilipinas during his stint in the fourth window of the Fiba World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers, Clarkson has been also imparting the lessons he learned from ex-teammates Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to young Jazz, led by breakout star Lauri Markkanen.
“I want to still give back to the young guys on my team now. Being around Kobe and Bron, there’s been a much of vets I’ve been around in the NBA, you know Lou Williams, guys like that. It’s kinda pushing me to a leadership role in my ninth year in the league. Just seeing how they handled it and kinda doing the same,” he said.
Clarkson said coming off the bench for the past seasons scratched the surface of his potential of becoming a leader to the team
“I feel great. This role I really been taking advantage of the opportunity, come play at a high level this year but I think the bigger role, I was ready for this,” the nine-year NBA veteran said. “I came off the bench for maybe four of five years in my career, I think I was ready for this opportunity to come out here and really show what I can do offensively make plays, score the ball, defend and do everything around the court and be a leader for this team. I think I’m really showing that in the early months of this year.”
The Filipino-American guard continues to shine as a starter for the Jazz, who are eight in the Western Conference with a 22-23 record, with an average of 20.7 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in 32 minutes of playing time in 43 games.
“Just picking my spots throughout the game. For me being aggressive in scoring, knowing what time is and being aggressive to make plays for my teammates. That’s the biggest thing for me throughout this whole year. I think through my past experiences, it’s preparing me for this moment and I’m just trying to keep the team better,” he said.
Clarkson seeks to lift Utah to the top of the West before the All-Star break as they look to reach the playoffs with their revamped roster.