SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 26: Joe Ingles #2 and Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz smiles during the game against the Denver Nuggets on October 26, 2021 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
Photo by Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images

Clarkson And Ingles Reach Career Milestones

Arguably the top two bench players in the NBA, Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles reach career milestones in leading Utah to a 122-110 victory over Denver on Tuesday night

As per his usual rotation, it's just past the midway point of the first quarter when Joe Ingles gets off the Utah bench, removes his top and sweats, and gets ready to check into the game.

It's a huge asset when head coach Quin Snyder can turn to his bench and insert Ingles, the runner-up to last year's Sixth Man of the Year award and one of the most efficient bench players in the league.

But that's not even the biggest luxury Snyder has when he turns to his reserves.

Jordan Clarkson typically gets himself off the Utah bench and smiles as he walks to the check-in counter, usually towards the end of the first quarter. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is best described as "lightning in a bottle," a high-energy scorer who can take over any game he plays in.

On Tuesday night, both players were at their best in a 122-110 victory over Mountain West rival Denver. Clarkson finished with 19 points and three rebounds in 31 minutes of action, while Ingles added 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists in 28 minutes. They combined to be a +35 when on the court.

"I thought Jordan really gave us some boost in the first half. He got some clean looks. … He did a good job of getting into the lane when we needed to attack the rim," Snyder said. "I thought Joe, particularly when they're switching and when they're blitzing, his ability to pass the ball and find people makes it easier on everybody."

More than their prodigious skillsets on the court, both players bring something incredibly valuable to the Jazz: Veterans who run the second team. Their basketball IQ is almost more of an asset than their skills on the court, and it's why Utah is considered the deepest team in the NBA.

During Tuesday's game, Clarkson and Ingles each hit career milestones that show how talented they are when combined with their longevity in the league.

Clarkson scored his 8,000th career point late in the third quarter on a three-pointer assisted by Ingles. The play was a perfect example of how far he's come in the league.

Initially drafted in the second round by the Lakers, Clarkson had this reputation as a high-volume shooter, albeit not highly efficient. Over the years and countless hours in the gym, he's transformed himself into one of the most well-rounded scorers off the bench. He's capable of getting his shot from anywhere on the court, all while being able to get into the paint and attack the rim at ease.

Ingles, already the owner for most made three-pointers in Utah history, continued to add to his total when he hit his 1,000 career three-pointer late in the fourth quarter.

With Clarkson providing the scoring off the bench, Ingles is the facilitator. He's a dead-eye shooter from beyond the arc, but his ability to initiate the offense, run the pick-and-roll and find the open man is essential in why the Jazz are so successful.

As Ingles and Clarkson lead a revamped bench for the Jazz, which includes Hassan Whiteside, Eric Paschall, and Rudy Gay, Utah continues to prove that they're deeper, tougher, and more physical than last year.

For a team looking to make that jump to a championship contender and bring home Salt Lake City's first-ever NBA title, the season's 3-0 start is an excellent step in that direction.

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