Ian Clark played 4 years of college basketball at Belmont University, only to go undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft. His game is impeccably rounded for someone whose name was never called. In his senior season, he was named Ohio Valley Conference Co-Player of the Year with Isaiah Canaan out of Murray State (who was drafted 34th overall by the Houston Rockets), and received solo honors as the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
It’s great to see a combo-guard so highly acclaimed defensively, because at 6’3” he occupies that sort of tweener state of not facilitating enough to run point, but not being large enough to be considered the ideal shooting guard (CJ McCollum anyone?). He is also a prolific 3-point shooter; something that was evident in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Clark suited up for the Golden State Warriors’ squad in Vegas and went on to be part of their championship run. A big part, in fact. In the Warriors’ 91-77 championship win, Clark scorched the Suns for 33 points (7-10 from the arc). This performance left Golden State’s most reliable player (under contract, mind you) Kent Bazemore in the dust by 15 points.
I love to see this happen. Any undrafted player that can pull himself up by his boot straps to earn an NBA contract is hard to root against. That’s how Wes Matthews got his start, and now he is a prominent figure in Portland’s lineup. Clark, too, has turned some heads; and not only Portland’s.
The Warriors, the Jazz, and some Euro teams will also be bidding for his services. He could probably make more money overseas, but the chance to play in the NBA may yet be more enticing. It will be interesting to see how Portland tries to acquire his services.
As Kevin pointed out, the Blazers have filled all 15 of their available roster slots and would have to waive a player or make some sort of trade to sign anyone else. Since the Blazers made an early commitment on Allen Crabbe’s previously non-guaranteed contract, and the backcourt is muddled as it is, Terrel Harris is undoubtedly on the chopping block.
The money Portland would save in swapping Harris for Clark is marginal at best, so the reasoning for consideration must lie in potential. Ian Clark could be the addition that makes the Blazers’ guard rotation younger still, but even more deadly. Between Lillard, McCollum, Matthews, and Clark, the Blazers would be a 3-point threat in almost any lineup.
Pay close attention in the coming days, because although free agency has settled to a dull roar, the Blazers may not be done building their team.