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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers: Will Earl Clark Become A Star After A Good Season?

USA TODAY – Jayne Kamin-Oncea

Earl Clark may have been the only Los Angeles Laker who benefited from Mike D’Antoni’s offense this season. With injuries to Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, the 24-year-old Clark was able to establish a solid role in D’Antoni’s rotation.

In Clarks’ first four seasons, he only averaged 3.1  points per game. However, in the 2012-13 season, Clark started 36 of the 59 games and averaged 7.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game — all career highs.

Earl Clark was traded to the Lakers along with Dwight Howard last offseason and proved he could be a really good player. I expect him to improve even more next year. He is a highly versatile player and at 6-foot-11, he can stretch the defense and command a low post presence. He also added the three-pointer to his repertoire, and in his first four seasons, he only attempted 15 threes. This year alone he attempted 104 — and made 35 (33 percent).

Clark will enter the summer as a restricted free agent and I expect the Lakers to match any team’s offer. They desperately need some young players on the roster. Clark may eventually earn a new contract with the Lakers, and he rightfully should. I expect Clark to resign with the Lakers and he even reportedly stated he would take less money to make it work.

If Howard doesn’t come back next season look for Earl Clark to get more playing time. I think he can be a great player for the Lakers.

Eric N. Ellington covers the Los Angeles Lakers for Rant Sports. Follow him at @EricNEllington