HOUSTON – Undrafted rookie forward Gary Clark met the confidence of Houston Rocket’s training camp to pull Carmelo Anthony aside and show him a picture of those posing together at an AAU tournament several years ago.
Clark, who had to earn a two way contract, allowed him to be scared of 10-time All-Star for a moment. Then Clark focused on competing to play time – and quickly earned the place in rotation as a reserve force forward as Rockets waited for Anthony to fill this season.
“Skit, it was my favorite player at one point,” Clark told ESPN on Thursday night when he played a key role in a 107-86 victory over the golden state wars hours after the rockets announced that they were “disgusting” with Anthony. “But it did not matter who was there. I would make sure I came to court because I know what I’m taking on the table.”
Carmelo Anthony’s short stop with Houston Rockets is over. Sources told ESPN that the rockets have no plans to abstain from him and will continue to allow their representatives to look for a landing site.
If Carmelo Anthony wants a new team, Puerto Rico has a No. 15 shirt waiting for him.
With a national television audience watching, Clark showed why coach Mike D & Antoni decided to give him consistent minutes. Clark had nine points on 3-in-7 shots (ranging from 3-point range), seven rebounds, two assistances and two blocks in 28 minutes. It was the kind of gritty, well-rounded performance that Rockets needs from roleplayers to complement their superstars.
“He’s going to get his bad, he’s a rookie,” says Antonie of Clark. “It will be up and down, but he deserves all the confidence we can give him.”
Although Clark idolized Anthony as a child, his game plays much more than Rocket’s power forward PJ Tucker. 6-foot-8, 225-pound Clark is a tough, versatile defender who was a champion of American athletes at the Cincinnati annual course, even though he prevented the younger and high seasons of a foot injury that injured his draft stock
Clark was listed as doubtful against the war arena because of a broken hip but did not consider looking out at the defending champions.
“I mean,” I’ve been through worse pain, “Clark said.” The last two years of my college career I played pretty much in pain, so I got a little hip blow, that would not stop me. “ Clark served minutes with the rockets on the strength of his defensive ability – the face of the game where Anthony fights most, especially at age 34 – and has become comfortable as a 3-point shooter to play for Houston.
“In practice, he saw just like a guy who fits in, “said Rock’s general manager Daryl Morey at ESPN.” His early minutes he went in and played hard. Really, our team only seemed to work better when he was out there. “
The analytics provide evidence: Clark has the best defensive rating (101.1 points allowed per 100 possessions) and net worth (plus-1.4) of the nine rockets who has played at least 200 minutes. However, Anthony was the worst in both categories (111.0 defensive rating, minus-9.0 net worth).
“He’s smart defensive,” bullet Chris Paul said about Clark, a colleague from North Carolina who played for Paul’s AAU program. “He wants to learn, and he listens all day, every day.”
Added Tucker: “He wants to be better. I think he just keeps growing in our system. He fits it perfectly, and he’s still He’s not perfect, but he goes out and plays hard. That’s all you can ask. “
The biggest issue about Clark is whether he will shoot 3 that is good enough to hold the floor for Rocket’s playmakers. He only tried 141 3s in 139 college games and he shot 30.6 percent on the NBA 3- but he pushes the ball with confidence, which he said comes from Paul and Harden passes to him with the expectation that he will take a 3.
“He’s always ready to catch and shoot, as you see tonight, and he just working hard, says harden. “His first few games, he was just so nervous. I could tell his face, he did not want to make a mistake. Tonight, you could only see it, from a confidence level to blocking shots, running floors, rebounding the ball, winning games. That’s what we need from him. “
The 45 days Clark is allowed to spend in the NBA while a two-way contract goes fast. It seems to be a mere formality that the rockets will transform their contract into a beginner match, because D & # 39; Antoni now considers Clark to be a key reserve.
“Many people really doubted my ability to be at this level and play,” said Clark. “To me I had such a big chip on my shoulder that it did not matter what was in front of me. I would make sure I came to court. Wherever I was or who was able to be in front of me I just tried prove the score to everyone else I could play at this level. “