Philadelphia 76ers: Jordan Clarkson proves sometimes change is good

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

After watching the Utah Jazz put it all together with Jordan Clarkson, maybe Elton Brand and the Philadelphia 76ers should consider making a pre-February trade.

When the Utah Jazz acquired Jordan Clarkson on Christmas Eve, it turned quite a few heads around the NBA.

Granted, no one is going to argue that Clarkson isn’t a solid player or even the best player included in the deal, but surrendering two future seconds and Dante Exum – six months into a three-year, $33 million extension – felt kind of like overkill for a 6-foot-4 ‘combo guard’ who doesn’t provide much value outside of scoring buckets off the bench.

And based on his 44.5-33.8-81.8 career averages from the field, beyond the arc, and the line respectfully, he isn’t even all that effective as a pure scorer.

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But in a weird twist of fate, the Jazz have been unstoppable since Clarkson traded in the Lebron-less landscape of Cleveland for the bustling metropolis of Salt Lake City, Utah.

No, Clarkson alone hasn’t put the team on his back like a post-Space Jam Michael Jordan – frankly, his stats have only slightly improved over his career numbers – but after desperately lacking a second unit shot-creator for the first third of the season, JC’s addition put it all together.

Now, the Jazz have a second unit scorer who can take the pressure off of Donovan Mitchell having to carry the team alone. They also have a third player averaging more than 15 points a game, a fact all the more impressive when you consider Clarkson only averages the seventh most minutes of any… Jazzman(?).

And most importantly of all, the Jazz have found yet another shot-creating difference-maker who can provide clutch minutes both now and during the playoffs. You know what, I guess I’m not surprised the Jazz have a 9-0 record since Clarkson came to town, that line of thinking tracks.

But, you may ask, what on earth does this have to do with the Philadelphia 76ers?

Easy, sometimes change works.

Much like the pre-Clarkson Jazz, the Sixers have found themselves in a bit of a tailspin without one of their starters. While the team has still played hard, depending on who you ask, they simply lack the firepower needed to get things done at the end of games or maintain a lead however big when playing away from the Wells Fargo Center.

If another team has more desperately needed an injection of new talent, I couldn’t name them.

To be fair, I’m sure this isn’t a new concept to Elton Brand and his front office associates, I’m sure it’s been broached early and often with the deadline less than a month away, but why, dare I ask, wait until the 11th hour to pull off a deal? To have fewer options and more competition?

Say what you will about the timing of the Jazz’s move, as I’m sure a cross-country move wasn’t exactly high on Clarkson’s Christmas list to Santa, but the move couldn’t have worked out better; they got their man and didn’t even have to bid against another team.

Some may even go so far as to rank the Jazz’s trade for Clarkson as a crucial move to the team’s 2020 success than their offseason trade for Mike Conley – though to be fair, Conley’s season has been limited to 22 games due to a lingering hamstring injury.

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So why not bypass the line and make a trade now, in the month of January, to halt any further spiraling in a world without Joel Embiid? It certainly worked for the 2017-18 Philadelphia 76ers, albeit via the buyout market, and pretty much every player attached to the team this season has a higher potential than Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. Any move, no matter how small has the potential to shake things up in a very real way, and again, can you think of another team in the NBA, maybe all of sports, who could use some shaking up?