As the Clippers present a genuine threat in this NBA season, we look back at the best LA Clippers players of all time to put on the kit. Who are the legends of the west?
The Clippers are on the edge of history as they could go for the win as the NBA season closes. Therefore, it is time to give this team some scrutiny like never before. Here we compile a list of some of the best LA Clippers players ever to don the vest.
How can we judge the best players from 44 seasons of rosters? It seems impossible, but having the right criteria helps. We want those players who would have come into the top 10 all-time list for their position or had a historic season with the Clippers. So, although you might disagree with our choices, you will find that these players helped to win the league, they topped the stats, or they offered a crucial contribution to a playoff run.
The Polish Rifle could knock down three’s with a precision that most would dream about. He shot 40% from deep and has twice as many threes over the team’s second-place target man Corey Maggette. Piatkowski did all this before the 3-point shooting would revolutionize the game. Despite playing nine seasons and 616 games, he only managed the playoffs one in his career with the Clippers.
While playing for the team, Ron Harper never dropped below an 18 points average. He played his best basketball in Chicago rather than LA – but he is still one of the all-time leading scorers for the Clippers and is, therefore, an essential player to the history of the franchise.
The danger that Maggette posed is never better illustrated than by the number of fouls he drew from the opposition. His strength, speed, and athleticism bewitched the opposition and drew them into contact. Therefore, he boosted the score from the free-throw line more than most. He led the whole league in free throws in the 2003 – 2004 season. After his NBA career, he went on to become the MVP of the Big-3 Basketball league.
If Manning hadn’t been so plagued by injury, he would have been an all-time star beyond the Clippers. He suffered knee injuries time and again throughout his career that saw him benched. However, when he played, he could turn a game. He led the Clippers to two of the five playoff runs they enjoyed and ranked fifth in the franchise scoring list. More than anything, he will be known as leading the team to the 1991- 1992 playoffs for the first time.
World B. Free
Despite the colorful name, Lloyd Bernard Free played two seasons for the Clippers – as a time when they were known as the San Diego Clippers. However, in this short term, he never fell below 29 points per game. He was known for his aerial ability at the rim. He also made his All-Star appearance when with the Clippers.
You might think that Griffin is a strange inclusion on this list. He never really shone brightly and went under the radars for the fans. However, listen to his achievements, and you will see why he deserves his place. Despite being so young, he has played in three All-Star games and won Rookie of the Year.
He has made the playoffs in back to back seasons, something that the Clippers have rarely done. His three-year career average is over 20 points and over 10 rebounds. In short, he has earned his place with these special stats.
Sometimes the stats don’t always reveal the story, but the reputation of the player is enough – and Smith could influence all areas of the game with his tireless efforts. Most of his career success was in his partnership with Bob McAdoo at the Braves. So, when he was brought to San Diego, he came with many accolades under his belt and went on to hold many of the Clippers records. When he came to the franchise, he could easily be considered its first impact player and one of the best LA Clippers players ever.
Paul didn’t play long for the Clippers, but when he did, he was named in the All-NBA first team and the All-Star MVP. He was also selected for the Olympic team. He is one of the most decorated Clippers players in history; hence, he gets his place on this list.
To be fair, although brief, his influence on the franchise was significant. He helped to transform the culture and help the team become a threat in the Western Conference.
Work ethic, passion, and resilience – no other player came to the court as hard as Elton Brand. He led the list for offensive rebounds. Elton Brand is a controversial name on the list, but only because of the disappointment of fans who felt betrayed by his migration to Philadelphia when he was the figurehead for the franchise. He was a candidate for MVP and led the Clippers to the league semi-finals.
Clearly, the greatest player ever to don the west for the Clippers, Bob McAdoo, would easily make a list for the greatest players of the NBA. His best days were for the Braves but continued to bring his ethos and passion to the Clippers franchise. He played harder than most other centers and scored an average of 34.5 points in the 74-75 season. Moreover, Bob McAdoo is also one of the best Americans to ever play in Europe. In Italy, he played together with Mike D’Antoni.