Before being dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers, Earl Clark was looked at as a bust. He was the 14th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and never seemed to live up to expectations.
The Orlando Magic wanted to get rid of him and his contract in any Dwight Howard trade, and they did, sending him to L.A. as part of that blockbuster deal back in August.
Little did they know that he’d end up starting for the star-studded Lakers and would be averaging 10.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1 block per game while shooting 50% from three in those starts.
Clark will be an unrestricted free agent this summer – and his current level of play is catching the eye of other teams around the league – though Earl says he wants to stay with the Lakers, according to the Los Angeles Times:
“This is my first team that gave me an opportunity. I love the guys here,” Clark said. “The organization and the style of play fits me. I really want to stay here.”
Just like the Lakers “discovered” Jordan Hill last year and retained his services, they’ll have to try and do the same with Clark. There’s nobody else like him on this team: his athleticism and solid all-around game has been a pleasant surprise this year.
On a team loaded with veterans, Clark adds a nice injection of youth and has turned out to be a steady role player. The Lakers would be wise to work out a deal with him over the summer and keep him on board for a few more years.