In Clippers franchise history, 14 players have worn no. 15. To be totally honest, I did not even recognize half of the names when I saw the list.
Even among the more recent players whose names are familiar, none really stand out in terms of quality. Darrick Martin played about two and half seasons with the Clippers, but on some of the very worst teams. James Singleton and Ryan Hollins were little-used reserves, while Ryan Gomes is among the most forgettable starters in team history. Hedo Turkoglu’s Clippers tenure was entirely unmemorable, and Johnathan Motley has barely even been with the NBA club during his two-way contract.
To find the winner of this crown, we have to go further back.
Freddie Crawford, Henry Bibby, Bird Averitt, Geoff Huston, and Steve Burtt each lasted one season with the franchise, none particularly noteworthy. Jim Brogan and Jeff Martin hung on for two years, but not long enough to make an impression.
That leaves the best player to wear no. 15 in Clippers history: Ernie DiGregorio.
DiGregorio, or “Ernie D”, was born and raised in Providence and went to Providence College, where he made the Final Four as a senior in 1973. He was drafted with the third pick by the Buffalo Braves that year and made an immediate impact. As a rookie, he led the NBA in assists per game (8.2) and free-throw percentage (90.2%). He also set a rookie record with 25 assists in one game — it has since been tied, but not broken. The Braves finished 42-40, losing to Boston in the first round of the playoffs. Unsurprisingly, Ernie D earned Rookie of the Year honors.
He never really had a comparable season of production after his rookie year, and also became well-known by the lesser nickname “Ernie No D”. He did set an NBA record by shooting 94.5% from the foul line in 1977, though on only 146 total attempts. That remains a Clippers franchise record.
DiGregorio lasted one more season in the NBA after that, splitting time between the Lakers and the Celtics before falling out of the league altogether. Not an illustrious career, but good enough to earn a spot on the Clips Nation list.