Earl Clark is proving he can be a facilitator for the Los Angeles Lakers?
It might be a little too soon to say so, but Earl Clark is showing on court that he has lots to give to his team, in every aspect. The third year forward/center out of Louisville is the perfect example of how a young player should exploit every single chance that he's given. Clark is making sure his name is heard and the LA Lakers can be sure they've made a good movement when they acquired him as a part of the blockbuster Dwight Howard trade.
The recent misfortunes of his team's bigs proved to be a blessing for him. First with the season-ending injury of backup center Jordan Hill and then with the constant injuries and poor appearances of Pau Gasol, Clark snatched up the opportunity and delivered some quality minutes for the Lakers. His 10 starts this season in a team that features Dwight Howard and Gasol can speak of his presence. One of his best games this season came on January the 29th against the New Orleans Hornets, when he ended up scoring 20 points on 4-5 shooting from 3 point range.
In the past 5 games, Clark has showed some unknown aspects of his game. He's averaging a little less than 11 points per game and almost 8 rebounds. He's also shooting a great 49% from the field and has also shown that he can shoot the three if given the open chance. Coach Mike D'Antoni has chosen to start him at power forward instead of Pau Gasol. For the Spaniard, it might be his recent injuries, his up to now mediocre performance or a combination of both that cost him the starting role. Gasol has expressed his displeasure more than one times.
Clark will surely be needed this season by the Lakers, because of his combination of size and great energy. He's looking like he is really basketball-hungry and that he is enjoying the fortune he had to start for a team like the Lakers. Shall the Lakers continue to find their way towards this year's playoffs, Clark should be an important factor in their game. In fact, the more playing times he's given the more confident he seems to get and that way he can provide even more for his team. The thing is that with the constant injuries of the Lakers centers, Clark can and should be a great option, either as a reserve or as a starter. Remember that the team had to bring Robert Sacre back from D-League to face all the injuries that came together. So having Clark and even developing him so that he can be a consistent option at the team's roster is surely a wise choice for the Lakers.
By Chris Michaels
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