Ian Clark played for four different teams during his six-year run in the NBA, but the time he spent with the Golden State Warriors definitely represents the high-water mark for his pro hoops career to date.
The former Belmont standout played on two Finals teams in Golden State, helping the Dubs win a title in 2017. Clark was a fixture off the bench during that playoff run, averaging 6.8 points in 13.7 minutes over 16 games. Along the way, he made 50.6% of his shots as a backcourt player.
Now, though, he’s beginning a new chapter in his hardwood journey.
Last week, Clark signed a deal with the NBL’s Sydney Kings, a team co-owned by his old Warriors teammate, Aussie big man Andrew Bogut. He’s joining the club as a late-season replacement for injured forward-center Jordan Hunter.
An Auspicious Debut
Clark hit the court with the Kings for the first time on Saturday, as the team clashed with three-time NBL MVP Bryce Cotton and the Perth Wildcats. It was a productive debut for the former Warriors guard, who scored 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting over 19 minutes of action.
In the end, the Kings protected their home court, winning the game after a Xavier Cooks dunk pushed the score to 98-95 and a Cotton heave with time expiring caught nothing but air.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats were outscored by nine points when Clark was on the floor. After the game, the soon-to-be 31-year-old was over the moon about how his long-awaited return to the hardwood played out.
“Honestly, I feel great,” Clark said. “It was a big win for us. The first couple of minutes I was just anxious, trying to get the feel of the game, but once I got going, we got competing, it felt great. I just want to thank the coaches and my teammates; they just helped me so much. And it feels good to just be back out there and competing.”
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A Golden Opportunity
Clark’s last bite at the NBA apple came with the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2018-19 campaign. From there, he joined the CBA’s Xinjiang Flying Tigers in what would prove to be one of the most difficult stretches of his hoops career.
During this period, Clark found himself playing in China amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He also contended with a hand injury.
Since last April, though, he had been working out in Memphis, Nashville and even the Bay Area, anxiously awaiting his next opportunity. And he looks to have gotten a golden one with the Kings.
“It’s up and down, it’s free-flowing. You make decisions on the fly. Specifically, the way that we run things, pick and rolls… offensively, defensively. I’m used to playing that way,” Clark said of transitioning to the Aussie game, via News Corp Australia.
“I think that’s part of the fit, I think that’s part of why it was a good opportunity for me, being able to know that the way that the guys play, the way that the team is run, my game can fit in easy.”