Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ghosts of Drafts Past

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”George Santayana

The Milwaukee Bucks would do well to listen to the wise words of Spanish-American author/philosopher George Santayana when preparing for next months draft. Lottery swings and misses have become part of the Bucks lore since their first foray into the lottery back in 1992. But they can learn from mishaps.

Players and their styles trickle on down through time as younger kids grow up watching older guys. That’s why everyone says Lebron plays like Magic. Or Kobe has a little MJ in his game. Or Trevor Ariza has Scottie Pippen’s arms. Or Big Baby Davis has Oliver Miller’s stomach. It just happens like that. So in this draft class I’ve picked up on a few things that I remember seeing a little bit in Bucks of years gone by.

Today is part one. And we’ll start with one that scares me on a more personal level. I invested a lot of time talking about today’s past Buck and I don’t want to revisit that part of my Buck life any time soon.

Earl Clark reminds me of Marcus Haislip.

Every year Marcus Haislip and I would do the same dance. He would do outrageous dunks before games which would always tantalize me. I would be talking about him after the game like he actually got in, though he never did. This would go on for the season and then things would really heat up when summer league started. Haislip would go bonkers in every summer league game, once hitting seven threes to go along with his usual nasty dunks. I would go on and on about how much talent he had and then he would continue to rot on the bench.
I never got it. At the time I didn’t realize that guys like Haislip can’t just rely on their athleticism to get them by. I didn’t know they had to focus on defense and show effort to grab rebounds. This was always Haislip’s biggest problem. I’ll repeat myself: EFFORT was his biggest problem. Effort.

How hard is it to give effort? I don’t always work hard at my job, but when I’m given responsibility I see to it that it gets done. That is the kind of player that Milwaukee needs. Not another lackadaisical effort guy. We shipped out Tim Thomas years ago. We should have consulted Thomas way before picking Haislip anyway. “Hey Tim, does he remind you of you? He does? Okay, thanks.”

Now let me look through the dozens of scouting reports available about Earl Clark. I’ll start with his weaknesses as listed at, “doesn’t always play hard, high bust potential?, consistency, off-ball defense and mental toughness.” Yikes. Moving on to, “he’s inconsistent. Needs to become more consistent.” Looks like they are concerned about his consistency. Chad Ford at has further concerns, stating simply that Clark “doesn’t have a great feel for the game,” and is “soft.” I don’t have the information from 2001, but I’d bet the fellow workout wonder Haislip had a lot of the same knocks on him coming out of college.

The best thing about Clark is that he was more productive in college than Haislip and may have the ability to move to the three. I also could be seduced by his productive tournament runs. Tournament runs are generally a good sign of things to come if my mind recalls correctly. I haven't actually looked that up though. Regardless, it’s still a risk not worth taking. There should be better players available. And if Clark emerges in a few years as Marcus Haislip, but with a good head on his shoulders, then some team will have gotten very VERY lucky.

Haislip seems to be holding his own in Europe though. This was from a couple years ago I believe.


  1. Earl Clark kind of reminds me of Marvin Williams. I don't know if that's a knock on him or not.

    Didn't they say some of the same things about Marvin that they're saying about Clark?

  2. Considering Williams production since entering the league as a number two pick....I'd say that is a knock.

    I don't remember if they questioned his effort level as much. The word "raw" has been used more at draft websites in reference to these two than it is used at the deli counter at Pick N' Save.