Earl Clark: An Undeveloped Engine

Vincent YinContributor IOctober 23, 2010

PHOENIX - APRIL 18:  Earl Clark #55 of the Phoenix Suns runs out onto the court before Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs against the Portland Trail Blazers at US Airways Center on April 18, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Trail Blazers defeated the Suns 105-100 to take a 1-0 series lead.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix's Suns forward Earl Clark was drafted by the Suns in 2009 NBA Draft with their 14th pick. Expectations were high for Earl Clark before the season started, but after the a few games into the season, most people did not expect him to be a rotation player.

Throughout his high school and collegiate career, Clark has showed why he deserved to be a lottery pick. In his senior year in high school, Clark averaged 25 points, 13 rebounds and five assists for Rahway High School in New Jersey. He was also named as a 2006 McDonald's All-American.

Earl Clark only managed to play in more than half of the Sun regular-season games in his rookie season while averaging 2.7 points and 1.2 rebounds per game in 7.5 minutes. Those are decent statistics for a rookie who is not even considered a rotation player.

Earl Clark is listed as a small-forward, but he is capable of playing at the power-forward position in the NBA due to his length and height being at 6'10". Earl Clark played the least amount of minutes than any other first-round pick in the 2009 NBA after BJ Mullens of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Recently the Phoenix Suns starting center's team option was exercised by the Suns management, but there was also Earl Clark's team option waiting to be picked up, but that did not happen. Supposedly, this may be a plan by the front office in an attempt to motivate Earl Clark for a contract with the team.

Clark is a player who needs to develop through confidence, much like recently renowned Suns guard Goran Dragic. It only took Goran Dragic a season before he started to be recognized as a backup player.

Earl has struggled and rarely showed signs of confidence whilst playing in the Phoenix Suns uniform, which occasionally brought worried faces among fans. People started becoming uncertain whether Clark would ever develop into the player he was projected to become.

With the acquisition of Josh Childress, Hedo Turkoglu and Hakim Warrick, this decreases Clark's chances of receiving any amount of playing time. Even in the preseason Clark struggled to be apart of the Suns main rotation team, which consisted of about 10 players. At this rate, Clark's chances to enter the rotation is rotting away as this year's Suns draftee Gani Lawal is proving himself.

Perhaps what Clark really needs is a shot at a lot of playing time in order to prove himself. Last night, Earl Clark led the Suns in scoring with 13 points in their loss to the Denver Nuggets. Earl needs to motivate himself, add fuel to his fire and play for his career.