When newly re-signed sixth man Jordan Clarkson was asked Wednesday afternoon if being in his second year with the Utah Jazz had increased his familiarity with coach Quin Snyder’s schemes to the point that he might be used a bit differently this coming season, he gave a brief if not wholly satisfying response.
“I feel like my role is the same, he’s just able to put me in more actions,” Clarkson said.
So … that would be a yes, then?
That would be a yes, Snyder himself would confirm a short time later.
And it’s not just true of Clarkson, either.
While much attention has been paid to the growth and potential roles of second-year players Miye Oni and Juwan Morgan, it’s the growth of the second-year-on-the-Jazz veterans that will impact the team far more.
To that end, Snyder acknowledged that Year 2 in Utah for the likes of Clarkson, Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic has him both intrigued and determined to better maximize their talents.
“Having a chance to watch them play over the course of the year, you start to see the different concepts where they’re comfortable and successful,” Snyder said. “And [so you’re] trying to … design plays tactically, or really with their teammates, where those guys start to kind of recognize things from one another.”
For instance, Snyder explained, off-ball screening actions have been particularly good for all three of those players — even the point guard Conley, because of the ball-handling ability of Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles.
Snyder has already expressed a desire to more frequently utilize Bogdanovic in post-ups, and reiterated as much Wednesday. He then surprised by adding the same was true of Clarkson.
“We haven’t used J.C. on the post, but that’s not something I would be afraid to do, either,” Snyder said.
Bogdanovic revealed that Snyder has been scheming ways for him to get up more shots beyond the arc, “especially earlier on offense.
“I had a career high last season, taking [7.3] 3s per game, and Quin is kind of trying to force me to shoot even more because we were the best-percentage 3-point-shooting team in the league,” Bogdanovic added.
Not that there’s much forcing required there.
Actually, Snyder argued, many of these newer concepts are less about him designing schemes and more about him taking note of how players interact with one another on the court and instinctually calibrate and modify their interactions.
“Those guys are finding those concepts, and a lot of times — I mean, I’m a big believer that players teach you as a coach; you can see the things that they gravitate towards,” Snyder said. “And there’s times where you want to redirect them, but for the most part, if you find something someone’s comfortable doing, whether it be offensively or defensively, you want to adjust to them.”
Mitchell agreed with his coach in that some of the new additions to the playbook are simply a byproduct of the players getting to know each other better, and coaches becoming more attuned to those adjustments.
He said certain tendencies with Bogdanovic revealed themselves fairly early on, while adjustments with Conley and Clarkson didn’t become readily apparent until the Orlando bubble. And now they are in a position to capitalize further on that symbiosis.
“The biggest thing is just being able to get comfortable with each other, finding actions that we all kind of like and finding ways to get into those through different actions,” Mitchell said. “… Being able to run plays and get into actions where we’re into their favorite habits; that way, it’s more comfortable for them, and it’s smooth sailing from there.”