For information on Ian Clark’s Orlando Summer League with the Miami Heat, check this column I wrote earlier. However, Ian Clark played for the Golden State Warriors during the Las Vegas Summer League Games. And my oh my did he put on a show during the championship game on Monday.
Playing behind the flashy guard Kent Baezmore for Golden State, Clark was still off the radar to most of the basketball world before the game. Landing right in the center of the NBA map, Ian Clark asserted himself early and often through the game. He scored 19 of his 33 points in the first half and wowed the not-so-large Las Vegas crowd by hitting seven of his ten threes. An impressive moment in the game came when Clark pick-pocketed the ball from Suns’ guard Kendall Marshall. After taking a few dribbles past half-court, Clark used the spin move to go right around Marshal and finish a tough left-handed layup.
No surprise, Clark was named the game’s MVP. While he was somewhat of an enigma a few days ago when I first wrote on him, I certainly saw this kind of potential in Clark with his shooting ability and above-average defense. While Clark only averaged 12.4 points per game during the Las Vegas games, four points less than with the Heat in Orlando, he still was scoring at about the same rate when you consider he was coming off the bench behind Baezmore.
Now that Clark has gained legitimate interest from NBA teams, there’s a possibility that the Heat may use their last roster spot freed up by the Mike Miller amnesty on Clark.
As of now, Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports reported that Clark has legitimate interest from the Utaz Jazz, Golden State Warriors, and Portland Trail Blazers. All three teams have yet to extend an offer sheet to him as of today.
There’s also the possibility that Ian Clark takes his talents to… the other side of the Atlanta Ocean. He’s certain to draw interest from overseas as well. Clark could probably make more money immediately while playing with international talent. He’d be able to play more, earn more, and, if all goes well, come back next season with more interest and more money on the table in the NBA.
But here’s a few reasons why Clark should take his talents to south beach, and why the Heat should bring him in.
First, three reasons for Ian Clark.
Yes, the Golden State Warriors, parring injuries, could certainly make a deep run in the post-season. And yes, Portland will be in the mix for one of the last spots in the West. Utah might… well, it’s a long shot after losing Jefferson and Millsap for nothing, but they still could get the 8th seed. And finally, I’m sure there’s some sort of trophy to win in Europe. But this is the Miami Heat. Back-to-back NBA Champions. Not a soul who knows their stuff on the NBA would put Miami anywhere lower than a three seed at worst in the weak Eastern Conference. The Heat are already most people’s favorite for the title next season.
Yes, there may not be as much minutes compared to other squads, but as we saw with Coach Erik Spoelstra’s bipolar attitude towards players during the playoffs this past spring/summer, he’s going to play who’s hot. Battier spent his time on the bench. Miller spent his time on the bench. Cole even sat two games during the Finals. Ian Clark would certainly get his time late (or even early if he proves himself to be reliable) in games to gain chemistry with the team. You never know, it could be Clark filling Miller’s shoes with heroics from deep during the post-season.
2. More Shots
Now at first, this sounds like I’m refuting what I just said about not getting many minutes in Miami. However, he’s going to get looks on a team built like this. With Lebron and Wade running the show and needing the floor spaced, Ian Clark could literally move less than ten feet on many possessions catching and shooting on kick-outs. Unlike Golden State where the starters like Curry and Thompson rain threes from deep, the Heat don’t have superstar shooters, in their prime at least. And while Allen, Battier, Chalmers, and Cole will all be taking a lot of those shots, unlike Rashard Lewis and James Jones who warm the benches, Clark can play point which could give him more minutes.
3. Future Openings
Chalmers contract is up after this season. Let’s face it. It’s going to be tough to get him to return if the Heat want to keep the big three intact. Clark, while still battling Norris Cole, could find himself playing 20 minutes a game at worst as the backup to a very good Miami Heat team come the 2014-2015 season. In Golden-State, there’s Stephen Curry. Utah: Trey Burke. Portland: Damien Lillard. His best shot to start in the NBA is in Miami out of those four.
Now, three-in-one simple reasons for the Miami Heat to Sign Ian Clark.
Replacing Mike Miller cheaply, replacing Mario Chalmers down the road, and adding shooting… all in one move.
Yes, there are proven veterans who won’t surprise you come the start of the season. The Heat could take a flier on the “incredibly reliable” Greg Oden who they’ve expressed interest in. But the team has Chris Bosh, they have the Birdman, and they have Mr. One-Side-Of-The-Floor-Only (Anthony). Having four centers on a team that plays small ball a lot with James at the four doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Clark will space the floor and give the team a player to play point and provide floor spacing.
The Miami Heat amnestied Mike Miller for a reason, to save money. Ian Clark will also be cheap.
And finally, as I said earlier, the Heat could possibly be signing their point guard for the future.
So there you have it. Will the Heat get Clark to come play for the three-time NBA Champion franchise with the best player in the world in LeBron James? It sure sounds very tantalizing to me for a young player who didn’t even get drafted.