The New Orleans Pelicans and Ian Clark came to terms on a one-year deal worth $1.6 million, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania.
New Orleans getting Ian Clark for the minimum is a steal. The 26-year-old finished up his fourth season in the NBA and his second with the Golden State Warriors. Clark put together the best season of his young career, averaging 6.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in just 14.8 minutes a night. He’s also developed into a reliable shooter, and that ability to create points is going to serve the Pelicans well.
Free agent Ian Clark has agreed to a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources tell The Vertical.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 1, 2017
Clark nailed 48.7 percent of his looks overall and 37.4 percent from three. He’s got a solid all-around scoring package that wasn’t showcased at volume because he’s still a rather raw player, but the foundation is there. New Orleans is going to need that type of backcourt threat who can divert attention from Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins because Jrue Holiday can’t do it all by himself. Clark can be that guy.
At 6-3, the undrafted guard is more of an undersized two than a one. Clark hasn’t shown the consistent ability to create for others, and playing on the Warriors makes his lack of assists even more appalling. The per game stats don’t say much. However, per 36 minutes Clark only averaged 2.8 dimes. I get that most of his minutes are garbage time, but it wasn’t rare to see him out in the middle of a close game. Maybe all of that changes once he gets to New Orleans.
If it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world. Remember — the Pelicans got Clark for the minimum. He’s more than comfortable playing off the ball, and Alvin Gentry doesn’t have to worry about him being a detriment. Last season, Clark logged an offensive rating of 108. The Pelicans, as a team, were 105.2. He’s nearly automatic on catch-and-shoot threes (42.3 percent, per Synergy) and has a mid-range jumper that’s a huge part of his game; Clark connected on 43 of his 88 looks from that area last year.
The only issue New Orleans is going to have is with Clark’s defense. Not even Golden State could cover it up. If I had to guess, his struggles on that end limited his playing time significantly because the Warriors didn’t get any better with Clark on the floor. He’s too small to guard twos and not quick enough to guard ones, so it left the coaching staff in a tricky situation.
Alvin Gentry has created an efficient defense, but only because he lets to team run. The Pelicans finished eighth in pace (98.0) and ninth in defensive rating (107.4), and Clark isn’t going to do much to improve that.
New Orleans got a reliable scorer on an exceptionally-low deal. Clark is going to produce over the course of next season, and I see Gentry giving him a bigger role just to see what he’s capable of doing. Unlike the Warriors, the Pelicans don’t need to worry about contending and can experiment with different lineups. Perhaps we see the display of a hidden skill set, and, hopefully, he’ll play himself into a bigger contract.
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