When Jordan Clarkson’s historic shooting streak came to an end last Sunday, the reigning sixth man of the year had a very nonchalant response when asked about it.
“Nope, Nah, it’s over,” Clarkson said with a laugh and a shrug after being asked about the streak ending. “Start another one, that’s it.”
It’s the sort of response one would come to expect of Clarkson, widely considered one of the most low-key athletes not just on the Jazz, but in the NBA.
His relaxed demeanor is precisely what led to him making a three-pointer in 99 consecutive games. That streak was the fourth-longest in NBA history, with Steph Curry (twice) and Kyle Korver being the only two who made it to 100 games.
Clarkson will have the opportunity to start a new streak when Utah (6-1) travels to Atlanta to face Trae Young and the Hawks (4-4). Tipoff for tonight is set for 5:30 p.m. MST.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 4, 2021
It hasn’t been the best start to the regular season for Clarkson when it comes to shooting the ball. He’s shooting 20% (13-for-65) from beyond the arc, nearly 15% points lower than last season’s mark of 34.7%.
It’s not the first time in Clarkson’s career that he’s been through a shooting lull — not even the first time wearing a Jazz uniform.
Over a five-game stretch last season in late March, Clarkson went 8-of-42 (19%) from beyond the arc. He never panicked during that run, going 16-for-45 (35.6%) from deep over the next five games.
Heading in Thursday’s showdown with the Hawks, Clarkson has the same mentality as last year. It’s not about whether or not his shots are going to fall — he knows they will at some point. It’s about doing all of the other little things that can help the Jazz win.
“I think the big concentration for me is on the defensive end,” Clarkson said. “Trying to bring energy on that side, continue to help us win games. Just bring energy, good vibes. … Shots are gonna fall.”
Clarkson’s will to win is much stronger than people realize.
Whether or not his shot is falling, he’s taken on a more concentrated effort on the defensive side of the ball this year, and it’s showing. He’s averaging two steals per game with numerous deflections over the past two contests, proof that winning is far more important than individual numbers.
“I feel like I’ve been saying it for a long time, but his care factor, his will, and he’s got a lot of pride, he wants to win,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “He can really score but he wants to win more than he wants to score. There is a competitiveness where sometimes if you’re not making shots you figure out other ways to impact the game and that’s exactly what he did.”
Jordan says N pic.twitter.com/uiAZl2bal7
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 3, 2021
Still, the low numbers aren’t a cause for concern for Clarkson or anyone else in the locker room.
He’s averaging 14.4 points per game due to his ability to get into the paint and attack the rim. Because of his track record of success, opposing defenses must stay honest when guarding him, which continues to open things up for his teammates.
“JC is kind of JC on and off the court regardless of the basketball side of things,” teammate Joe Ingles said Wednesday on “The Joe Ingles Show. “I mean, JC is the sixth man, so people are going to defend him differently than what they have in the past. He’ll figure it out.”
It’s only a matter of time until Clarkson finds his way — and once he does, watch out.
He’s giving out all of the vibes of going on a hot streak once the first three-pointer goes down. That’s a horrifying thought for opposing teams considering the Jazz are still atop the Western Conference standings.
*Rudy Gay: OUT — right heel recovery
*Udoka Azubuike: OUT — G-League Assignment
*Donovan Mitchell: QUESTIONABLE — right ankle sprain
*Royce O’Neale: QUESTIONABLE — right ankle sprain
*Jared Butler: PROBABLE — non-COVID illness
*Hassan Whiteside: PROBABLE — left ankle sprain
*Onyeka Okongwu: OUT — right shoulder injury recovery
*John Collins: QUESTIONABLE — left foot strain
Time: 5:30 p.m. MST
Location: State Farm Arena / Atlanta, GA
TV: AT&T Sports Network
Radio: 1280 The Zone