Jordan Clarkson had the best regular season of his career during the 2020-21 season.
He averaged 18.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game en route to being named the 2021 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
He is continuing that hot streak this postseason, and the Utah Jazz are currently up 1-0 against the Los Angeles Clippers in their second-round playoff series.
Clarkson was a part of the 2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers team that made it all the way to the NBA Finals, and the 29-year-old recently talked about the playoff run with that team.
Clarkson saw his role within the team diminish as the playoffs went on, and he recently admitted that he was not ready for the responsibility of the postseason at that point in his career.
“During a seven-game Eastern Conference finals against Boston, Clarkson fell out of Lue’s rotation altogether,” wrote Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “He spent most of his time during the NBA Finals (a four-game sweep by the Warriors) playing pick-up games with Kendrick Perkins and Cedi Osman.”
Clarkson looked back at the experience with humility.
“He took me out of the rotation and he told me, ‘we’re gonna go in this other direction,’” said Clarkson. “He talked about sacrifice and finding yourself. I understood him and respected him tremendously for that. I was a little immature, not really ready for those moments. I put a lot of work in, but a lot of that stuff you’ve got to work smarter, really understand what it takes.”
Although he might not have been ready then, the experiences he gained were certainly invaluable and are surely helping Clarkson now as he and the Jazz look to make it far this postseason.