What Will Earl Clark’s Role Be When Pau Gasol Returns?

As Pau Gasol inches his way closer to a return to the Los Angeles Lakers’ lineup, Earl Clark will be the player affected most by the Spaniard’s return.

Gasol has been rehabbing a torn plantar fascia in his foot that has kept him out of action since Feb. 7. Although he’s on the road to recovery, Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Gasol experienced soreness in his foot while playing a two-on-two game. So it appears as if Gasol will miss additional time in order to get 100 percent healthy.

While Gasol’s return is still a mystery, Clark—who has started 31 games this season in Mike D’Antoni’s coaching system—will have to prepare for the possibility of a different role moving forward.

Clark gained favor under D’Antoni due to his athleticism and ability to spread the floor. As a result, he carved out a niche in the Lakers starting lineup, relegating Gasol to the bench. Despite that fact, the Lakers head coach may be having a change of heart.

According to Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News via Twitter, D’Antoni may be more inclined to start Gasol due to his veteran experience. D’Antoni said of Gasol’s return:

As you get to the playoffs, experience and being able to perform under certain conditions is a big factor. And he’s more comfortable starting. There’s a lot of things you have to think about. We’ll look at it. As soon as he gets healthy enough, that’s where we’ll go.

D’Antoni and Gasol clearly have not seen eye to eye since the former New York Knicks coach took over. In fact, the two had a meeting December to try and hammer out some of their issues, according to Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times.

However, if D’Antoni’s recent quote is any indication, Gasol will get to start. He acknowledged that Gasol is more comfortable starti...

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