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Utah Jazz have had their eye on Jordan Clarkson for a while and will give him some freedom on the court

SHARE Utah Jazz have had their eye on Jordan Clarkson for a while and will give him some freedom on the court
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Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) celebrates against the Portland Trail Blazers in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz front office was well aware of the bench deficiency that was created by their offseason moves, and of how important depth had been for the team in the past.

Their first move in trying to remedy the lack of production from the bench was going after Jordan Clarkson, who made his debut with the Jazz on Thursday night after being traded from the Cavaliers in exchange for Dante Exum and two future second-round draft selections.

“There was a little bit of a duh-factor being 28th in bench scoring,” said Dennis Lindsey, executive vice president of basketball operations for the Jazz. “We needed to add someone that could just go and get a shot.”

That’s exactly the reputation that Clarkson has. The other part of his reputation is being a player who needs to play freely in order to hunt out his opportunities.

Though that doesn’t exactly sound like someone who would neatly fit into head coach Quin Snyder’s system, Clarkson is going to be given a lot of breathing room as he acclimates to his new teammates.

“I want to limit, on some level, expectations for him and just let him play and get comfortable,” Snyder said before Thursday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. “It’s going to take him a little time to get comfortable in some respects but also don’t want him to overthink it as well. He can be instinctive and be himself.”

It’s not like acquiring Clarkson was a spur of the moment decision for Lindsey, general manager Justin Zanik, or even Snyder.

“He was a player that Quin asked me about this summer so it’s not the first conversation we’ve had about him,” Lindsey said.

As evaluating talent from within the organization and around the league is a continuous process for the Jazz, so is evaluating the state of the team.

For now, with so many new pieces spanning from the offseason to the newest additions, expectations are somewhat tempered.

The coaching staff and front office all know that growth and progress are very subjective and that it will take time for chemistry and understanding to peak on the court, but they also know that they are a team in the hunt for playoff positioning and beyond.

It’s likely that as the Feb. 6 trade deadline approaches, so will expectations of a more cohesively working team. Those dates coinciding are of course no coincidence.

The hope from the Jazz’s perspective is that Clarkson injects some life into the bench, Georges Niang gets a little more time on the court at a better positional fit, and that as health comes back to the team and Mike Conley rejoins the ranks that things will start to even out. If not, there are always more moves that can be made.