Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson has won the 2020-21 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award for his contributions in a reserve role, the league announced Tuesday morning (Manila time).
This is the first Sixth Man honor for Clarkson. He also becomes the first player to win the annual award with the Jazz.
Clarkson received 65 first-place votes, and earned 407 total points from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Utah forward Joe Ingles finished in second place with 272 points (34 first-place votes), making this the first time that teammates hold the top two spots in voting for the Sixth Man Award.
Surprisingly, Ingles presented Clarkson with the award during the broadcast of NBA on TNT.
“For me, it was tough. I started in LA but just coming to myself, and trying to find the impact I could have in this game and what I can bring to it. When I got that role, I just worked on it,” said Clarkson during the broadcast.
“Being traded here to Utah [from] Cleveland just enhanced my role because everybody knows their role here. I just really accepted it and kept rolling.”
Clarkson averaged a career-high 18.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 26.7 minutes in 68 games (one start). His scoring average of 18.3 points as a reserve was the highest in the NBA.
Clarkson made a career-high 208 three-pointers overall (seventh in the NBA among all players) and a league-high 203 as a reserve. The 203 three-pointers are the fourth-highest single-season total off the bench in NBA history. He also ranked ninth in the NBA in free throw percentage this season (89.6).
Playing his first full season with Utah and seventh in the NBA, Clarkson recorded two games with at least 40 points; five games with at least 30 points; and 23 games with at least 20 points off the bench. He scored 40 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 15; and 41 points against the Golden State Warriors on May 10. That gave him two of the five 40-point games off the bench in Jazz history.
Clarkson joined Ingles in helping Utah finish with an NBA-best 52-20 record and the fifth-highest single-season winning percentage in franchise history (.722). The Jazz earned the top seed in the Western Conference for the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Clarkson, 28, was acquired by Utah in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 24, 2019. He re-signed with the Jazz on Nov. 23, 2020.
The 46th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft has career averages of 15.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 521 games. He played with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cavaliers before joining the Jazz.