Summer league star Ian Clark looking to earn minutes
Ian Clark's fingernails sparkled under the lights.
"Had to do it. Had to do it," the rookie said Friday morning at practice, as he showed off the new purple-with-glitter paint job.
Clark and his fellow rookie, center Rudy Gobert, had to endure some hazing yesterday. As the team walked through a local mall, point guard John Lucas III — with forward Derrick Favors acting as the muscle — made Clark and Gobert get their nails done in the middle of the mall.
"People were walking by, taking pictures," Clark said.
Still, it might not have been as hard to endure as some of the other challenge the rookie out of Belmont has faced of late: finding minutes on the court.
Clark, one of the stars of summer league, did not see any time during Utah's loss to Portland on Wednesday. In the previous three games, Clark averaged about 10 minutes and just over 3 points a game.
"It's just the flow of things right now, where we are rotation-wise," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "I like to try to give guys … quality minutes where they have a chance to get 4, 5, 6 minutes in a row, to have a chance to get loose and get the feel of the game. He will have opportunities to get on the floor."
Clark said he's not frustrated by the DNP.
"There are veterans on this team," he said. "I know they're going to get their opportunities because they've proven it. I have to come in and prove it because I'm new."
Clark averaged 16.4 points a game playing for Miami in the Orland summer league and then led the Warriors to the Vegas summer league championship. He scored 33 points in the title game.
Clark's exclusion Wednesday may have just been a chance for Corbin to look at other pieces. The Jazz have seen quite a bit of Clark, who is signed to a partially guaranteed two-year contract.
"We've had him here quite a quite a while before camp, so we've had a really good look at him," Corbin said. "Now we want to get him with the regular guys and get him more time on the floor."
Clark said he's working on his ball handling. He's a smaller shooting guard (listed at 6-foot-3, 173 pounds), so he may have to improve his point guard skills if he wants extended opportunities.
Another thing the Jazz are working on with Clark is his shooting form. The guard's release comes a little low, which could pose some problems. Jazz player development assistant Alex Jensen (who is 6-foot-7) was working with Clark at practice this morning, challenging his shots from the perimeter.
"He has a low release but he gets it off quick," Corbin said. There are some guys whose form is not traditional, but he's used to it. We'll work on it as we go forward to try to get it up higher, but he can make shots."— Aaron Falk
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