Let's jump into the Hot Tub Time Machine and go back a little ways. Not so far that you might run into your mother whoring around a bar, but just far enough so that you are in the Suns Draft War Room on July 25, 2009.
The Suns had the 14th pick and of course, as we know, picked young Earl Clark. Full of talent and promise and more than one question about his work ethic and maturity.
Also on the board was Chase Budinger, who the Suns worked out and reportedly really (really) liked. Chase is a smooth shooter and a decent athlete by NBA standards. His short arms left many teams wondering if he could defend small forwards at the top level.
For the record, his arms haven't grown since being drafted, although I've not personally measured them, so technically that's a supposition on my part.
You've now traveled back to that war room on that fateful night and you've got the ear of Steve Kerr. Do you urge him to perhaps trade down into the 20s and grab Chase or do you stick with Earl as planned?
My answer after the jump...
There's no question that right now, so far, Chase is the better NBA player. He's smarter on the court and if we are comparing jump shots there is no comparison.
But Earl Clark was always a high-risk, high-reward selection. There is no chance that Chase can become the kind of defensive player that can cover a Kevin Durant and the upside of Clark's offensive talents as a ball-handler and play-maker far out-strip Budinger.
In fact, you could argue that Chase has already reached the limit of his potential while Clark's ceiling is barely in sight.
So jump back in the hot tub and lather up... and leave Steve Kerr alone. Let's see how this Clark gamble pays off before retroactively trading him in.