12. Earl Clark
Kobe Bryant was still at the peak of his powers in 2013 and trying to will the Lakers to another championship. The 34-year-old was playing every minute and averaging over 27 points per game to ensure they reached playoffs. Bryant tore his Achilles on April 12, 2013, to end a historic run from the 34-year-old.
He wouldn’t have had to carry such a heavy burden if the Lakers had a better team around him. Count Clark in that group. The 25-year-old had barely played in his first three years in the league and was on his third franchise in four seasons.
None of that stopped the Lakers and Mike D’Antoni from giving him significant minutes. Clark jumped into the rotation in January and never left. Over the final 49 games, he averaged 8.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 27.1 minutes per contest. The 6’10 forward was even part of their playoff rotation.
It earned him a $4.2 million deal in free agency from the Cleveland Cavaliers where Clark again barely played. He ended up on three teams over the next two seasons before playing his final NBA game in 2015. Earl Clark was just 27 years old, and his lone year with the Los Angeles Lakers was the best of his career. Sadly, he was still one of the worst starters next to Kobe Bryant.