Former Louisville forward, Earl Clark, suffered early in his NBA career but lately it looks like he has turned it around. Clark has cracked the starting lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers and is making the most of his opportunity.
Everyone knew Clarks potential was very high coming out of college and that is why the Pheonix Suns took him as their first round draft pick. But Clark never really excelled in that system and was looked down upon because of his seemingly lack of effort on defense. Clark was then traded to the Orlando Magic where he played about 11 minutes a game. But still Clark was criticized for his defense and wasnt a big impact player.
Then Clark was traded to the Lakers in a blockbuster deal that involved superstar center Dwight Howard. It looked like the Lakers were the team to beat in the west and that Clark had no role on the team due to Pau Gasol’s presence. But Mike Brown was fired and Mike Dantoni was brought in to coach the team. The run and gun offense simply doesn’t fit Gasol’s style of play but it feeds right into what Clark wants to do. When Gasol and Howard both went down with injuries Clark stepped in and made an immediate impact. He quickly became a fan favorite in LA for his hustle.
In the first two months of the season Clark only averaged 4 minutes a game. This month Clark’s minutes have rose to 27.8 minutes per game. Not only has Clark been playing major minutes, he has also taken the spot as the power forward in the final minutes of the game instead of Pau Gasol. Clark has even had a double-double in 4 of the last 11 games. His latest performance was an impressive one as he racked up 20 Pts (4 for 5 from 3), 12 Rbs and 4 Ast.
Clarks season average in every major category is double what his career average has been up to this point. Many Card fans have been keeping up with the reemergence of Earl Clark and lets keep it that way. It is always a good thing to see a Cardinal alum succeed and we haven’t seen one do what Clark has been able to do, in a while.
Clark and the Lakers play tonight on ESPN at 10:30 P.M. EST versus the Phoenix Suns in which is sort of a homecoming for Earl Clark.