"Love This State" — Breaking Triple-Double Streak Among Highlights in Clarkson's Legacy-Defining Season

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

In a seemingly unremarkable game in January in which the Jazz held a double-digit lead over the Mavericks late in the fourth quarter, nearly every eye inside the Delta Center turned to watch a conversation between Jordan Clarkson and head coach Will Hardy. 

Everybody inside the arena and those watching at home knew exactly what that conversation was about. Was Hardy going to leave Clarkson in for the game's final minutes with the Jazz up 30? Or was he going to take him out and extend Utah's 15-year streak of games without recording a triple-double?

"I said, 'Get a rebound and call timeout immediately,'" Hardy said when asked about those conversations.

Sure enough, Clarkson did as he was told. A few minutes later, he chased down a long rebound, and at the 2:33 mark of the fourth quarter on Jan. 1, history was made (or broken?). That completed the final stat line of 20 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, snapping a streak that had lasted 5,801 days.

"It meant a lot," Clarkson said that night. "Honestly, I think I'm the — well, I am — the longest player here. Just breaking that record, seeing all the team and the guys, it just felt good. … It was a very cool little milestone to put on my list."

Although the season didn't end the way Clarkson and the Jazz had hoped, that moment of grabbing that rebound and taking in Jazz Nation going crazy all around him was something Clarkson will remember for the rest of his life. It was a small part of another good season for Clarkson as he navigated an ever-evolving role again in his second season under Hardy. 

"I think a lot of us had high expectations of trying to make the play-in game and win games this year," he said. "I guess we didn't accomplish what we wanted to, so I think it was a letdown for us. I think that's how a lot of guys feel, a sense of disappointment because we wanted to win games and compete. … We just didn't achieve that goal."

Going from starter to sixth man, to starter, and back to sixth man again, Clarkson still managed to complete one of the best statistical seasons of his career. He finished with 17.1 points, 5.0 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in 30.6 minutes per game. His 5.0 assists per game are a career-high, as he finished with four games this year of 10+ assists, another career-high. He also had three games of 10+ rebounds, another career high. 

"I feel like this year was the most I've ever had to make plays," Clarkson said. "I had to get off the ball a lot because of how the team was and how our roles changed. … I found that the game is a little slower and I'm able to pick my spots a little more when I'm in that position."

Although no one can predict the future, Clarkson had no problem reflecting on everything that Jazz and the state of Utah have meant to him. 

"Having a relationship with Ryan (Smith), Danny (Ainge), JZ (Just Zanik), and those guys. … I consider all of them family," he said. This is a place that I was able to call home, and I've really loved my time here. … I love this state, I love this city. I love playing for this team, for Will (Hardy) and everybody.”

When asked about the legacy he would leave should his time with the Jazz end in the upcoming months, Clarkson made sure the success on the court was matched by the success off the court.

"Not a knock on Thurl (Bailey), but best sixth man ever that came through a Jazz uniform," Clarkson said with a smile. "A legacy of showing love, embracing people. … This community is everything. I think that's my legacy of coming off the bench, winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. … Just a man of the people. Period."