When Clips Nation had its 64-player Favorite Clipper bracket, one of the complaints with the selection was that Mark Jackson was missing. As a two-year Clipper, he fell short of the legends section of the bracket, but he will not be overlooked again.
The greatest Clipper to wear no. 13 is Mark Jackson. Jackson tops a list of 12 Clippers to wear the unlucky number, and is the only no. 13 to start a playoff game for the franchise.
Jackson came in a trade to the Clippers that sent Doc Rivers and Charles Smith to the Knicks. Interestingly, Rivers said that he was thrilled for the chance to win a title in New York, and years later, he was traded to L.A. as a coach to seek out the same opportunity. Meanwhile, Jackson formed a formidable Clippers trio with Ron Harper and Danny Manning.
Jackson was an incredibly quick decision-maker and had some flair in the open court. Rivers has a saying that when an offense is humming, the ball finds energy — that’s what it looked like when Jackson ran the Clippers offense.
He started off with a bang with 17 points, 11 assists, and 4 steals in his first game, a brutally close opening-night loss to the Lakers at the Sports Arena. Still, the outlines of a great point guard were there.
The New York-bred point guard may be better known for his stints with the Knicks and Pacers, but statistically, Jackson was at his finest in Los Angeles. Over two seasons, he averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 assists in 36.2 minutes per game. The points and minutes were both career-bests, as was his shooting percentage of 47.1% from the field. The Clippers made the playoffs in his first season, marking the first time since 1976 that the team advanced to the postseason in back-to-back years, and the first time in Los Angeles. The Clippers lost in the first round, but pushed Houston to five games, losing by four points the decisive game 5.
The team cratered a bit the next season and traded Manning at the deadline for a post-Achilles tear Dominique Wilkins. That meant Jackson’s time with the Clippers was up as the organization prepared for another rebuild. At least he fetched a promising trade package from Indiana, as the Pacers sent L.A. Pooh Richardson, Malik Sealy, and the draft rights to a sharp-shooting guard named Eric Piatkowski.
Jackson and the Clippers wouldn’t be involved in another big game together until 2014, when the Golden State Warriors faced off against the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. The Warriors were on the precipice of greatness, but the Clippers eked out a seven-game win against the team coached by their former point guard, remaining the most recent Western Conference team to beat Golden State in a playoff series.
In time, Mark Jackson’s tenure as the greatest no. 13 in franchise history may be eclipsed by a certain homegrown talent from Palmdale. But for now, he stands alone.
On to the links...
- Doc Rivers has been watching classic games on NBA TV, though he tries to avoid the ones involving him as a player. He had less patience for the NBA 2K Tournament.
- Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley both bowed out in the semifinals of the players-only tournament. However, Beverley was the consensus choice for tournament MVP from an entertainment perspective and for home decor.
- It’s possible the 2K Tournament could have a second life. Here are some of the best moments from this first edition.
- Former Clippers Paul Pierce and Chris Paul lost in the first round of ESPN’s H-O-R-S-E competition. Clippers analyst Chauncey Billups moves on to the second round after beating Trae Young in a battle of the worst internet connection.
- The NBA has extended its moratorium on transactions indefinitely. However, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports that the league has a 25-day plan to restart operations, health and safety permitting.
- If the NBA season does return, the Clippers are willing to be as adaptable as they can be.
- The new Chicago Bulls VP of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas is filling out his staff, and he may be looking to Los Angeles for his GM.
Sources: Arturas Karnisovas is planning to start discussing Chicago’s GM job with candidates soon, a pool that’s expected to include several assistant GM’s: Calvin Booth (Denver), Marc Eversley (Sixers), Mark Hughes (Clippers) and Matt Lloyd (Magic) — among others.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 10, 2020