SLAMonline Mock Draft: Earl Clark, No. 13
Indiana needs this tough guy who does it all.
by DeMarco Williams
With the 13th pick in the 2009 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Indiana Pacers select…
Earl Clark. Drafting players is a lot like meeting a girl on Match.com. Sure, you’ve peeped 10 great pictures of the mystery lady online repeatedly, but until you see her standing at the Cheesecake Factory hostess desk for the first time, you’re not really sure what to expect. Earl Clark, the ridiculously-athletic forward who did Louisville’s dirty work while Terrence Williams was getting the ESPN highlights, is, well, the Pacers’ date for next season.
Indiana finished 36-46 a year ago. In one conference, that record would have been cause for panic. In the other, it’s just another way of saying your team was only one player away from a 6th seed in the playoffs. Thankfully for the Pacers, they play in the latter conference.
Danny Granger, the NBA’s most improved player, was the main reason Indiana came thiiiis close to making the postseason. The two-headed PG of TJ Ford and Jarrett Jack kept things in motion. Troy Murphy manned the middle respectably. And when they weren’t at the doctor’s office, the MDs, Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Marquis Daniels, were a headache for the opposition.
The Pacers have potential at every position. Unfortunately for hoops fans in the Hoosier State, they rarely showed it consistently. A do-it-all like Clark would be a heaven send. At 6-10, Clark is long enough to mix it up inside with Murph and Roy Hibbert on occasions, but he’s more than ball hungry enough to help Grange and Dunleavy during any offensive lulls. Lest we forget, Clark led the loaded Louisville Cardinals in scoring last season.The kid simply adores the hoop.
Of course, Indiana’s problem isn’t really with putting the ball in the hole. It’s actually with preventing others from having their way with the scoreboard. Squads averaged 106 ppg versus the Pacers. That’s 5th worst in the League. They gave up 115 or more 21 times. While Clark would be the first –Wait, actually Cardinals coach Rick Pitino might be first- to tell you he needs some work with his defensive fundamentals, things like a growing physique (228 pounds and expanding), a crazy wingspan, sound footwork and a knack for the big block and rebound only make learning that much easier.
Still, the essential point with the Pacers is that they aren’t missing much. Somebody like Clark, a genuinely decent kid with more upside than Facebook in ‘07, can come in, learn his role (hustle, tussle and bust on you) and thrive for Coach Jim O’Brien. There are some who say Wake Forest’s James Johnson could have done the same things. Maybe so. But this whole draft thing is like meeting a virtual crush in person for the first time. Might as well go with the one who appeared the most promising in the pictures.
I honestly think this kid's our guy.