5. Jordan Clarkson
After breaking the team up and shipping out Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Mike Conley, the Utah Jazz were supposed to be one of the worst teams in the league. Instead, they got off to a hot start in 2022 and showed some real potential.
Now, they are actually sitting in tenth place in the West, ahead of the Rockets, the Warriors, the Grizzlies, the Trail Blazers, and the Spurs, bound for the PlayIn Tournament. Jordan Clarkson is a big part of that.
In 2021, he won the Sixth Man of the Year award, playing extremely well off the bench. When the team moved off their All-Stars, he became a starter and played well in that role too. By now, he has settled back into his bench role, however, averaging 17.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.9 assists.
He is tied with Collin Sexton for the second-most points per game on the Jazz roster and leads the team in assists. The Jazz are not winning at a crazy rate, but they are also not stuck at the bottom of the Western Conference, and Clarkson’s numbers definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.
4. Bogdan Bogdanovic
Former Sacramento King Bogdan Bogdanovic is thriving in Atlanta. Coming off the bench for the Hawks, he is averaging 17.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals.
He is the team’s third-leading scorer and attempts the second-most threes. Known as a sharpshooter and talented scorer, the Hawks trust Bogdanovic to bring some good energy and fire off the bench.
So far, he hasn’t disappointed. Just in January, he scored between 10 and 24 points in every game except one. February is starting to look very similar, and by now, Bogdanovic’s name is firmly etched into the Sixth Man of the Year race.
His numbers certainly fit the requirements, but the Hawks’ record could hurt his case. Atlanta currently holds the last PlayIn spot in the Eastern Conference with a 22-28 record.
Their defense is abysmal, and the vision of a Trae Young-Dejounte Murray backcourt just isn’t working out. Bogdanovic is putting up great numbers, but they don’t always lead to wins.