Utah Jazz: Missouri’s Clarkson makes big impression in workout
NBA Draft • The 6-foot-5 point guard leads latest group of Jazz candidates.
Published: June 5, 2014 11:06PM
Updated: June 5, 2014 11:27PM
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Auburn's Chris Denson (3) takes the ball to the basket around Missouri's Jordan Clarkson (5) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, in Auburn, Ala. Missouri won 70-68. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Jordan Clarkson instantly stands out for his physical attributes.

As a point guard, his size doesn’t get much more intriguing. He’s 6-foot-5 and a sturdy 200 pounds. His arms seem to go on forever, and his upside is apparent.

And then there’s the skill set. The smooth jumper that was on display for the Utah Jazz on Thursday morning. The tricky handle that regularly put defenders on their heels during his college days at Missouri. And his defensive potential that yielded more than a steal per game last season.

“He’s very intriguing,” said Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin. “He’s someone who has a lot of upside at the point guard position. He has great size and he shot the ball much better than we thought he would here.”

Clarkson may be the only player the Jazz have brought in for a workout who stands a chance at being drafted with the second of their first-round picks, No. 23 overall. Certainly, if Utah fills another position with its lottery selection, Clarkson has made enough of an impression to find himself in the mix.

The Jazz saw him last week in a private workout in New York — which also included top-five candidate Noah Vonleh. Perrin said Clarkson handled the altitude well and that he offers intrigue to the Jazz because his measurements are different from starting point guard Trey Burke.

Burke had a good year, obviously, making the all-rookie first team. But where Burke is 6-0, Clarkson has much more size. Where Burke is forced to be cerebral off the dribble and crafty in the lane, Clarkson can get to the basket and has much more athleticism. Clarkson’s size would allow him to play alongside Burke, and Clarkson scored 17.5 points per game last season, which clearly indicates that he can put the ball in the basket.

“It was a good workout,” Clarkson said. “They put us through a lot of drills, a lot of full-court drills. They wanted to see how we handled the altitude, and how tough we were when we got tired. I definitely think I can come in and help the Jazz.”

Among others, Utah also brought in Russian big man Artem Klimenko, who impressed with his ability to shoot the ball. Perrin called him an “intriguing prospect” and someone who interests them. Andrew Wiggins’ older brother, Nick Wiggins, was also in for the workout. According to Perrin, he shot the ball “extremely well.”

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tjonessltrib