We look at the history of Los Angeles Clippers, the good, the bad, and … well, mostly the bad in the latest episode of the Over and Back Classic NBA Podcast.
Mick Minas, author of The Curse: The Colorful & Chaotic History of the LA Clippers, joins Jason Mann to talk about how much the Clippers’ historical woes can be traced back to bad luck and how much were from the poor ownership and ineptitude of Donald Sterling. They discuss the Buffalo Braves moving to San Diego in 1978, wooing the oft-injured Bill Walton, the sale of the team to Sterling, how Sterling was nearly exiled from the NBA early into his ownership tenure, how the team drafted talented young players (Tom Chambers, Terry Cummings and Byron Scott) but weren’t patient enough to keep them, relocating to Los Angeles, the incredible streak of season-ending injuries to top players (Derek Smith, Norm Nixon, Marques Johnson, Danny Manning and Ron Harper), and how the lackluster Benoit Benjamin typified those years for the Clippers.
They also talk about how Elgin Baylor finally put together a talented young team (with Manning, Harper, Charles Smith, Loy Vaught, Gary Grant and Ken Norman), finally making the playoffs in 1992 and 1993 under Larry Brown, putting scares into heavily favored Utah and Houston in consecutive years, and how that era came to a screeching halt. They chat about the team’s attempts to rebuild in the late 1990s, the bizarre Antonio McDyess trade and the fateful decision to draft Michael Olowokandi. They also dig into early 2000s teams with Lamar Odom, Elton Brand, Darius Miles, Quentin Richardson and Corey Maggette and why those Clippers never quite reached their potential.
Then finally they discuss the Clippers reaching the second round under Mike Dunleavy in 2006 with Brand, Maggette, Sam Cassell, Chris Kaman and Shaun Livingston, and putting up a good fight against the Seven Seconds or Less Suns before it all went awry with Livingston’s devastating injuries. They also talk about Mike Dunleavy seizing front office power, Elgin Baylor suing the franchise, Baron Davis joining the team while Elton Brand leaves, and eventually finally sustained success with Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Doc Rivers and new ownership.
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