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Out Of Shape Earl Clark's Struggles Continue

Dwayne Collins shoes were the best part of the day (photo by me)
Dwayne Collins shoes were the best part of the day (photo by me)

Clark said he'd been in Miami and Atlanta working on his game, but he clearly wasn't working hard enough if he's going to come to Summer League out of shape. A disappointing display of immaturity and the kind of lack of professionalism that caused him to drop to the Suns at 14 in the draft.

Clark wasn't a complete bust on the floor. He did show the ability to attack off the dribble and on several occasions was able to draw fouls. Of course, he also only hit 5 of his 10 free throws and 5 of his 14 field goal attempts. Even worse, he's shown no leadership on the floor and has yet to display the vision and passing that got him five assists in his first summer league game last year.

Coach Majerle touched on that, along with his fitness, "He's struggling a little bit. That happens in Summer League. I think he wants to come out here and he may be pressing a little bit. I don't know if he's in the greatest shape possible."

And it's not as if Clark disagrees, "I'm not in as much as good of shape as I thought I was when I came out here. I was tired a little bit. I made a couple of bad plays, I did a little bit too much. I'm just trying to be aggressive and the only way to learn is to be aggressive, so I can't really worry about mistakes. I just got to go out there and figure it out. That's what I'm trying to do."

Clark took fewer outside shots, and several times passed them up only to drive into traffic.

Majerle commented on Clark's shooting prowess and issued a stern warning, "I don't really care about him making shots right now. I just want him to play hard and make other people better. He's not doing that right now,  but he's got to figure it out or he'll find himself riding the pine again."

Of course, it's not all bad according to Coach Dan, "It will be a lot easier for him when he's playing with guys like Steve and Grant and Jason and those guys. But he's got to be a leader out here, not only with his play but with how hard he plays."

The highpoint for Earl's day was sitting with his girlfriend and their baby, who looks to be about 8 months old. By all observations, Earl is a good daddy.

Rest of the game

Just looking at the two rosters, it's pretty obvious the Raptors had the edge. They started four guys with NBA experience along with this year's 13th pick, Ed Davis. Off the bench, they had even more experience and more size with two seven-footers.

None of the Suns wing players were able to hit outside shots, which just allowed those big defenders to pack the lane even more. Two-for-14 from three and a poor 1-for-8 from Dowdell was the story of the Suns' dismal offense (32.4% shooting).

On the defensive end, DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems had their way with Matt Janning and Taylor Griffin. That should not surprise you in the least. The idea that poor Taylor Griffin could try and stay in front of DeRozan on the perimeter was doomed to fail from the start -- not that this roster has any other options.

It was a blowout in the first few minutes and only got worse as the game wore on.

Box score

Gani Lawal

Gani was by far the brightest spot on the sun. He led the team with 18 points (7/11) and had six rebounds in 26 minutes against much bigger competition.

Dan Majerle on the rookie's play, "He plays really hard. He loves posting up and he's got some good explosive moves. Once he gets in condition and learns the NBA game, I think he's got a chance to be pretty good.

"He's a different player than Lou (Amundson) because you can get him the ball in the block and he can go to work. He's got a long way to go, but I think he's got a lot of potential."

Lawal ran the floor well again, but today showed some impressive post moves, at one point spinning around Joey Dorsey and finishing with a two-hand slam.

Lawal talked about adjusting to the pro game, "I just got drafted, so I am just trying to get used to the NBA style, rules and style of play... It's faster. Guys are bigger, stronger, but I knew that coming in. (You) have to take better care of your body and can't be as careless as it was in college and get by on talent alone, so you have to take that next step on the professional level."

I wonder if Earl Clark understands that.


Video recap...


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