Clippers

The Top 10 Clippers of the Decade

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Now that the 2010s are coming to an end, it’s time to look back at what has happened over the last decade. For the Clippers, this was the most successful decade in franchise history. The Clippers made the playoffs seven times during the decade with six of those coming in a row. This tied the amount of times the franchise saw the playoffs since it was founded in 1970. Three of those appearances led to conference semifinal defeats as the other four were first round exits. This decade has set the tone for the future of the Clippers organization.

The first season of the decade began with the new head coach of Vinny Del Negro. This came about due to former head coach, Mike Dunleavy, stepping down as coach during the season, and then getting fired from the organization a month after. In Coach Del Negro’s first season, the Clippers finished 32-50. After that, the team never saw a losing record.  Following the 2013 season, Del Negro was let go after three years because the organization didn’t extend his expired contract. This led the team to hire current head coach, Doc Rivers. The Clippers have missed the playoffs only once since Rivers has been hired.

For a big part of the decade, the Clippers were a part of the Lob City era. From 2011-2017, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan were putting up highlight after highlight. This trio put the franchise that was one of the worst in the NBA, to one of the best. These players, as well as players around them and after them, helped build the Clippers of today.

During the 2010 season up until now, the Clippers have seen some great players. Here are the 10 best players to wear a Clippers’ jersey during this time:

Honorable Mentions

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George

2019 – Present

Leonard and George are the two best athletes to put on a Clippers’ jersey. They’ve only played a combined 48 games with the Clippers, so they didn’t make the list. At the moment, Leonard is averaging 25.6 points and George is averaging 23.7 points/game. If the season ended today, they would rank third and fourth respectively in all-time points/game. If they continue to stay with the Clippers for a good amount of time, they will definitely be on the next all-decade list and will be two of the best Clippers of all time.

Patrick Beverley

2017 – Present

Beverley is a ferocious defender who plays his heart out on the court. He plays every minute like it’s his last. When the team needs a defensive stop, Beverley is the man to make the play. He is an in-your-face defensive specialist who is a bother for his opponents. The 6’1” guard doesn’t take many shots, but he has been an important part of the Clippers. He has started 89 of his 118 games as a Clipper and sets the tone for the whole game.

 

10. Matt Barnes

2003-2004; 2012-2015

Barnes began his career in the D-League after being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers after he was drafted. He then joined the ABA and won a championship that led him to being signed by the Clippers for the second half of the 2003-04 season. After that, he left the team to sign with the Sacramento Kings. After eight teams — seven different — Barnes returned to the Clippers.

He returned in the middle of the Lob City era and began his time coming off the bench. Each year, he found himself more on the starting squad and then his last season, he started 74 of the 76 games he played. Barnes fit into the team as a defensive minded player who players didn’t want to face. He was a quiet scorer who focused on his defense, while the stars of Lob City focused on scoring.

He finished his time at the Clippers in this decade with 10 points a game. On the defensive end, he got 0.9 steals/game and graded out with a defensive rating of 103, 106, and 107 in his three years respectively. In 2013, he was voted the defensive player of the year by the Clippers. Even though he didn’t have the greatest defensive stats, he was a defensive complement for the Lob City crew.

 

9. Tobias Harris

2018-2019

Harris was the birth of the “new Clippers” after Lob City. He joined the Clippers in the middle of the 2017-2018 season in a trade from the Detroit Pistons. In the trade, the Clippers gave up the final member of Lob City, Blake Griffin, and was attempting to rebuild. Harris had to fill the shoes that the Lob City members set for the Clippers franchise. Once he arrived in LA, he was immediately named a starter and picked up where he left off. He played and started in only 87 games combined during two seasons. Although he never played a full season, the two seasons he was a part of helped keep the Clippers in the winning column.

In his first season, Harris joined the Clippers when they were 25-25, looking like they were going to go under a .500 winning percentage for the first time since Del Negro’s first year as coach. Harris went to work quickly, scoring 24 points in his first game in a win. He would complement that with an average of 19.3 points/game that season. 19.3 points/game was second on the team that year and he only played in 32 games. Harris filled Griffin’s shoes as being a high-scoring player. The team would finish with a 42-40 record to continue the winning record streak.

The next season, Harris set the tone for a surprising playoff push by the Clippers. He began the season scoring at least 15 points in 17 straight games. This was the best streak on the team and the best streak of his career. During one week of this streak, he was named the Western Conference player of the week for Nov. 19 – Nov. 25. He was later named the Western Conference player of the month for Oct. – Nov. because of his streak. The next month, he scored his career high of 39 points. It is still his best performance to date.

Harris was traded during the back-end of the 2018-2019 season after 55 games. He finished his second season leading the team in scoring with 20.9 points/game before the trade. He helped the Clippers get to a 30-26 record to keep the playoff hopes alive.

 

8. Danilo Gallinari

2017-2019

Gallinari was an important part of the transition from Lob City to where the Clippers are known today. He was acquired from the Denver Nuggets and started every game during his two seasons with the Clippers.

Gallinari’s first season was cut short because of a glute injury that caused him to play in only 21 games. In played at the beginning of the season, some games in the middle, and some at the end. He finished the season scoring the fourth most points with 15.3 points/game.

His next season would be the best season of his career in the unexpected playoff push. During this season, Gallinari averaged 19.8 points which was third on the team under Tobias Harris and Lou Williams. He would take a bigger role on the team when Harris was traded. Soon after Harris’ trade, Gallinari scored 20 or more in 10 games in the month of March. This helped the Clippers win 13 of 15 in the month and turned a 34-29 record into 47-31. This put them in a good spot to make the playoffs when no one thought they would. Gallinari led the charge for a team that had no all-stars to the playoffs.

He finished his career as a Clipper with 18.7 points/game. One of the more underrated players to suite up for the Clippers. He would be traded for Paul George after he led the Clippers to the playoffs.

 

7. Montrezl Harrell

2017 – Present

You can’t spell Montrezl Harrell without HEART. Harrell plays with energy and passion every time he steps on the court. The heart he plays with, makes him and the players around him better. The energy he creates with each play builds momentum for the entire team.

Harrell was traded to the Clippers from the Houston Rockets along with Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, and a number of others for Chris Paul. Once stepping foot in LA, his role as a Clipper began immediately. His game has only improved each year he has been with the team. Coming off the bench 263 times out of the 288 games he’s played, Harrell has been the seventh man for the Clippers. Although he hasn’t been the main scorer off the bench, he prides himself on his efficiency.

During his first two seasons with the team, he averaged 13.9 points/game with 62.2% shooting. Just in his third season with the Clippers, he already put himself at second in Clippers history in field-goal percentage (61.1%). This season, he is scoring 19 points/game at a rate of 57.5% shooting. His 19 points is tied for most of the bench in the NBA, with teammate and reigning sixth man of the year, Williams. He finished third for sixth man of the year last season and is in the running for it again this year.

Harrell has exploded this year. He has scored 20+ in 12 games this season with three games with 30 or more. In two of his 30+ point games, he has made and tied his career high of 34. Both games his shot over 50% with an impressive 72.2% against the New Orleans Pelicans off the bench:

 

6. Jamal Crawford

2012-2017

Crawford is one of the best players to come off the bench and is one of the best sixth men all-time.  He is second in NBA history in bench points under Lou Williams. Being a high scorer off the bench has led him to winning the sixth man of the year award twice with the Clippers and three times overall.  A lot of his points of the bench came from his five-year run with the Clippers.

Crawford came off the bench in 336 of the 370 games he played during the Lob City era. Although he didn’t start, he acted like a starter. He was a play-maker that could create shots out of nothing. Crawford was an expert in isolation situations and could shoot from anywhere on the court. He was a complement to the play-making atmosphere with his ball-handling, passing, and scoring capabilities.

With the Clippers, Crawford averaged 15.3 points/game on 41.4% shooting. He totaled 5,675 points, which is the most he’s scored for any team in his career.

 

5. J.J. Redick

2013-2017

Redick was the fourth man during the Lob City era. He was traded to the Clippers by the Milwaukee Bucks. He started 265 of the 266 games he wore a Clippers jersey. Redick was the shooting guard that the Clippers needed to succeed.

During his four seasons in LA, he averaged 19.7 points/game on 46.6% from the field. Redick was shooting just as many threes as twos. He shot 5.8 threes/game totaling to 1532 and 5.9 twos/game totaling to 1572 attempts as a Clipper. His skill from the three, put him second in the NBA for three-point percentage over the four-year span. He made 674 threes at 44%. He is second all-time in made threes and is first all-time in three-point percentage in Clippers history.

Redick’s career high 40-point performance features nine made threes that is tied for most made threes in a game in franchise history:

 

4. Lou Williams

2017- Present

Williams is the best player off the bench in the league right now and in Clippers history. He has earned back-to-back sixth man of the year awards while in LA and is on his way to his third as a Clipper and fourth total. He was traded to the Clippers after a short campaign in Houston with a number of players for Chris Paul.

The addition of Williams is benefiting the team, as he has scored 20.9 points/game on 42.8% off the bench in his three years and counting. This season, he is averaging 19 points/game. His scoring off the bench has led him to have the most bench points in NBA history, and he continues to add more.

Williams has pushed the Clippers bench into one of the best in the NBA. In his first season, his average of 22.6 points helped the team ranked 3rd in bench points with 42.6 points/game. The next season, with the help of his partner Harrell, the team would finish first with 53.2 points. This would continue this season as the Clippers are sitting at the top spot with 50.6 points/game off the bench.

When he is on the court, Williams is one of the best players on the floor. With his scoring abilities, he led the team in scoring his first two years as a Clipper. He is able to create his own shots and take over a game if he wants to. This led him to scoring his career-high of 50 points, with 27 in the third quarter, against the Golden State Warriors in 2018.

 

 

3. DeAndre Jordan

2008-2018

Jordan’s career as a Clipper dates back to before this decade. He was drafted 35th overall by the Clippers and spent the next 10 years wearing “Clippers” on his chest. Jordan was a quiet player until Blake Griffin and Chris Paul joined the team. After that, he exploded and became the player that led the league in dunks for four of the six years during the Lob City era.

Standing at 6’11”, Jordan was a threat to anyone who was in the paint. Whether it was on the offensive or defensive end, Jordan was making plays in the paint. Dunks and rebounds were Jordan’s bread and butter. If a defender was guarding Jordan, they needed to know where he was at all times because he was one lob away from throwing it down. Nothing stopped him from getting the ball in the basket. The dunk that defined Lob City is one of the greatest dunks of the decade by Jordan:

Once Lob City began to roll in LA, Jordan was at the top of the league. He led the NBA in shooting percentage for five straight years from 2012-2017. He led the NBA in rebounds/game from 2013-2015 with 13.6 the first year and 15 the second. Leading the league in shooting percentage has led him to the best percentage in the NBA at the moment and is an NBA record of 69.9%.

During his time with the Clippers, Jordan finished with 9.4 points on 67.3% shooting and 7078 total points through 10 years. He complemented his shooting with 10.7 rebounds a game. In the decade, he averaged 10.4 points on 67.8% shooting with 11.8 rebounds/game. He made the all-star team in the 2016-2017 season and was selective All-NBA First Team once, All-NBA Third Team twice (2015, 2017), All-NBA Defensive First Team twice (2015-2016), two-time NBA rebound leader (2014-2015), and was an Olympic medalist (2016) as a Clipper.

Jordan leads the Clippers franchise in a number of categories. These categories include, games played (750), offensive rebounds (2435), defensive rebounds (5553), total rebounds (7988), blocks (1277), field goal percentage (.673), two-point field goal percentage (.674), offensive rebound percentage (13.2), and defensive win shares (35.0).

Although Jordan is seen as a less popular member of the Lob City trio, he will always be a true Clipper and leader of the best decade in franchise history.

 

2. Blake Griffin

2009-2018

Griffin was the player that the Clippers dreamed about getting. Using the first overall draft pick in 2009, the Clippers knew what they were getting. What the Clippers didn’t know, is that they drafted one of the most exciting players in Clippers history.

This excitement started immediately as he won the Summer League MVP in his first year with the team. This excitement would be put on hold due to a knee injury suffered during the summer league that kept Griffin out for the entire 2009-2010 season. This just built the anticipation of his career.

Griffin returned to the court at the start of the decade. He started right where he left off. He led the team in points, rebounds, and assists on the way to a Rookie of the Year award. This was only the start of his historic run with the Clippers.

To go along with his Rookie of the Year award, he was invited to the Slam Dunk Contest. His ability to jump out of the gym gave him the contest championship and showed the NBA his dunking capabilities. This was a hint to what he would do and accomplish later in his career with Lob City.

With the Clippers, Griffin averaged 21.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He averaged over 20 points in seven of his eight seasons on the court for LA. This led him to being named an all-star his first five years in the league (2011-2015). He made All-NBA Second Team three times (2012-2014) and All-NBA Third Team once (2015) in LA.

Griffin’s role as a Clipper will probably never be seen again. His skill at his position makes him one of the most unique Clippers to date. Whether it was his monster dunks, or his acrobatic lay-ups, every time he had the ball in the paint, he found a way to get the ball in the basket.

As his career progressed, so did his abilities. Griffin began to develop a shot, ball-handling skills, and passing skills. The energy he brought to the court was seen around the league. He was one of the most exciting people to watch in the NBA. This made him the face of Lob City and face of the Clippers in the decade.

 

1. Chris Paul

2011-2017

Paul is the best Clipper of the decade because of what he accomplished. Before joining the Clippers, he gained six years of experience playing with the Hornets in New Orleans and Oklahoma City. He joined the Clippers in 2011 after his trade to the Lakers was nullified by the NBA. The Clippers would need to later thank David Stern and the NBA for what Paul did for the team.

Once Paul joined the team, he finished the trio that would be known as Lob City. Without Paul, there would be no Lob City. Paul put the “lob” in Lob City and did much more. He facilitated playoff runs in each season he was wearing a Clippers jersey. He ran the offense and defense that lead to six seasons of winning percentages over 60% with a Clippers record of 69.5% in 2013-2014.

The following season, he had his decade defining moment in the playoffs against the defending champion, San Antonio Spurs. With a 27-point and six-assist performance, Paul hit the go-ahead shot that won game seven in the Staples Center. Paul’s shot will go down as one of the best moments in Clippers history.

With the Clippers, Paul finished with 18.8 points, 9.8 assists, and 2.2 steals a game. He accomplished five straight all-star game appearances (2012-2016) with an all-star game MVP (2013), three time All-NBA First Team (2012-2014), two time All-NBA Second Team (2015-2016), six straight NBA All-Defensive First Team awards (2012-2017), back to back NBA assist leader awards (2014-2015), three straight NBA steal leader awards (2012-2014), and a gold medal (2012). These accolades will probably never be achieved by another Clipper in a six-year period.

To go along with his NBA achievements, his has multiple Clippers franchise records. He leads in assists (4023), assists/game (9.8), assist percentage (47.7), steals/game (2.2), player efficiency rating (26.3), offensive rating (124.5), win shares (78.2), and box plus/minus (+7.8).

It’s safe to say that Chris Paul is a best all-time Clipper and one of the best point guards of all-time. During his run with the Clippers, he was considered one of the top point guards in the league. Although he has gone to other NBA teams, he will always be known as one of the players who created a winning culture for the Clippers.

All stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @TLSportsMedia for the latest NBA news and insight.

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About Jordan Taylor

Los Angeles Clippers Writer. Email: jtfsu@outlook.com | Twitter: @jtfsu98

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