The LA Clippers have endured their best stretch in franchise history, becoming a perennial playoff contender in a difficult Western Conference. Even though these are seen as the more prosperous times, the franchise has a rich history that dates back to Buffalo and Bob McAdoo.
As the NBA calendar gets set to flip to 2018, we look back at the 10 best Clippers:
10. Eric Piatkowski: A solid role player, Piatkowski became a fan favorite with the Clippers faithful. He spent nine seasons in Los Angeles, playing 616 games for the Clippers and making 738 three-pointers. Piatkowski became a sharpshooter before three-pointers were all the rage. He scored a career-high 36 points in 2002 as a member of the Clippers.
9. DeAndre Jordan: Jordan is still a member of the Clippers, but his high-flying dunks and emphatic shot rejections have made him synonymous with the “Lob City” moniker of LA’s most successful years. Jordan is in his 10th season with the Clippers, where he has gone from a second-round pick to All-Star and perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
8. Corey Maggette: A talented scorer, Maggette became symbolic of the Clippers’ attempts to mingle with the league’s elite. He suffered through a number of losing seasons, but his eight years playing in LA paved the way for future stars like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to join the team–and want to stay for extended time. During his best season in 2004-05, Maggette averaged 22.2 PPG.
7. Danny Manning: A No. 1 overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft, Manning played six seasons with the Clippers and would have ranked higher on the list had injuries not derailed his career. He still went to two straight All-Star Games as a Clipper and averaged 19.1 PPG and 6.4 RPG as a member of the team.
6. Randy Smith: Alongside Bob McAdoo, Smith was present for the start of the Clippers franchise. He played eight seasons with the organization, which spanned from Buffalo to California. Smith played in two All-Star Games and made an immediate impact for the franchise, tallying 13.8 PPG during his rookie season. He was a pioneer in the development of the Buffalo Braves/Los Angeles Clippers.
5. World B. Free: World B. Free has spent time with a number of organizations, but his two best seasons came in a Clippers uniform. During the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons, World B. Free averaged 28.8 and 30.2 PPG, respectively, in San Diego. His prolific scoring and flashy play made the Clippers franchise a fun team to watch, setting the stage for the much later Lob City Era.
4. Chris Paul: Paul never accomplished the ultimate goal of winning a title in LA, but Paul was an All-Star for all but one of his six seasons with the Clippers. During his time with the organization, he was routinely regarded as the best overall point guard in the game. His passing prowess jump-started the Lob City Era, and his presence made the Clippers an acceptable team for which to root, especially in a market shared with the Los Angeles Lakers.
3. Elton Brand: Brand spent seven seasons with the Clippers from 2001-2008, and he played his best basketball there. A two-time All-Star, brand once averaged 24.7 PPG and 10 RPG in an LA uniform. He was so important to the team that former owner Donald Sterling matched a lucrative contract offer from the Miami Heat to keep Brand with the franchise.
2. Blake Griffin: Griffin is and has been the face of the Clippers franchise, becoming synonymous with rim-rocking dunks and that patented mid-range jumper. His athleticism and dominance as part of the Clippers starting lineup makes him an all-time great, and his decision to re-up with the franchise keeps him in the city for an extended period of time. His dominance at the position, plus longevity with the organization, makes him one of the best Clippers.
1. Bob McAdoo: While McAdoo never saw Los Angeles, his participation in the franchise is no less important. He made multiple All-Star appearances with the Buffalo Braves, and was the last player to average a season with 30 PPG and 15 RPG. A Rookie of the Year and First-Team All-NBA selection as part of the organization, McAdoo enjoyed the most individual accomplishments of any player to don a uniform for the franchise–winning an MVP Award with the club.
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