Shooters and Scorers: Jordan Clarkson
The Orlando Magic’s biggest need is shooting and scoring. They need players who can create for themselves, for others and hit from the outside. Finding that at the Magic’s price range is going to be difficult.
They might have to overpay for a player who is looking for a starting role but has not quite proven they can fill the role. Or use it on a super sixth man.
There are certainly a few players who fit that bill in this upcoming free agency class that would fill the Magic’s needs, fit their eye for length too.
Jordan Clarkson has long been known in the NBA for his scoring ability. Sometimes too much as he has often found himself on rebuilding teams that relied too much on his creation.
But last year was a breath of fresh air for him. He got traded to the Utah Jazz to try to boost their struggling bench and proceeded to average 15.6 points per game and 54.8-percent effective field goal percentage and 36.6-percent shooting from deep.
Clarkson shot 39.7-percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, placing him near the top quarter in the league in that category. But more importantly, teams think Clarkson can hit from the outside. According to statistics from Basketball Index, Clarkson ranked in the 91st percentile in the league in terms of gravity. Defenders did not leave him and respected his 3-point shooting.
Not only this, he was good at making difficult 3-pointers, adding to his team even when he shot contested shots.
According to NBA.com’s tracking statistics, Clarkson hit 40.0-percent of his 3-pointers when the closest defender as 0-2 feet away, although that number decreased to 27.3-percent when the defender was 2-4 feet away. Lest that number seem low, he made 53.6-percent of his 2-point field goals when the closest defender was 2-4 feet away.
In many ways, this stat profile looks exactly like Terrence Ross. And like Ross, Clarkson probably works better off the bench in small doses.
Clarkson has made his name throughout his career as a high-volume shooter. He is in there to take shots. And as a sixth man, especially for the Jazz, it worked. Putting up points is what Clarkson does.
Clarkson may not have the same quick-release or shooting ability that Ross ultimately has, but he is a much better driver, creator and scorer.
He averaged 20.5 drives per 75 possessions and shot a 62.1-percent adjusted field goal percentage at the rim, according to Basketball Index.
There is not much else to say about Clarkson. He is not a great defender and he is a better passer than he gets credit for. But not enough of one to be a primary playmaker.
To be sure, chasing after Clarkson would be a sign the Magic are still all-in on making the Playoffs in 2021. It would mean the team believes they needed the shooting to get to the next level — or survive whatever other changes the team makes to the roster.
At this point, Clarkson would be a dream but probably do too much to duplicate what the Magic already get from Ross.
This at least sounds a bit more realistic than chasing after a guy like Carmelo Anthony, who would only be using the Magic as a vehicle to prove he is still a star.