Associated Press writer TIM REYNOLDS contributed to this report.
Posted at 6:59 p.m. on May 24, 2021 CDT / 06:59 PM CDT / May 24, 2021 CDT (Continuous Dial Time)
Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year on Monday. He is the only player this season to come off the bench and score 40 points in a game.
And his closest rival was a teammate: Joe Ingles of Utah finished second, marking the first time the top two finishers in this category came from the same franchise.
It’s the first time the prize has gone to a jazz musician. Clarkson received 65 of the 100 first-place votes cast by a global panel of journalists covering the league, and was on all but five of the ballots.
On TNT, which carried the award announcement, Ingles said, “I tried to bring him the ball as much as possible so he could win sixth man of the year.” “No, I believe he has embraced and taken delight in his effect off the bench.”
34 of the remaining 35 first-place votes went to Ingles.
“Joe is a playmaker,” says the narrator. Clarkson stated, “He basically runs our second unit.”
Derrick Rose of New York was third, while Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. of Dallas were fourth and fifth, respectively. The public was invited to rank their best three choices for the prize.
Clarkson averaged a career-high 18.4 points per game this season, appearing in 67 of his 68 games as a reserve.
Clarkson has scored 40 points twice this season, first against Philadelphia on February 15 and then against Golden State on May 10. He started 136 games in his first three seasons, but has only started five games in the four seasons after, and is now thriving as a backup.
Clarkson remarked, “I just accepted it and continued going.”
In this season’s sixth man voting, 15 players received at least one first-, second-, or third-place vote. Montrezl Harrell of the Los Angeles Clippers, who is now with the Los Angeles Lakers, finished sixth last year.