12 players have worn the No. 42 for the Clippers, but there’s one clear — if possibly not beloved — choice as the best among that lot, and that’s Elton Brand.
Brand was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, and after two seasons there, he was traded to the Clippers for Tyson Chandler’s rights and Brian Skinner. The forward/center had an All-Star season in 2001-02, posting 18.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game that year.
He was a star, although he wasn’t regarded a true elite around the league, but the Clippers did the unthinkable and matched the Miami Heat’s expensive contract offer for Brand in the summer of 2003 when he was a restricted free agent.
The result is that Brand was the cornerstone of the Clippers, while Lamar Odom ended up going to Miami instead. It would have been nice if Brand and Odom had been able to build together on the Clippers, but hey, in the old days the Clips would have kept neither of their budding stars.
In seven seasons, Brand played 459 regular-season games for the Clippers, averaging 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds a game, always a good stat line in the NBA. Honestly, he would be a stellar second option, but instead he was tasked with carrying the franchise load on and off the court his whole career, and carved out a very good but not spectacular run.
Here’s one of his great performances, a 40-point game in the playoffs in 2006:
Still, Brand isn’t beloved due to a perceived switcharoo he took to leave the team. Coming off a long-term injury, Brand opted out of the final year of his huge contract and there seemed to be an expectation he would re-sign at a lower price so the Clippers could pick up Baron Davis.
They got their man, but instead of Brand re-upping, he managed to get a huge contract off a major injury from the Philadelphia 76ers and bolted, the plans of the Clippers finally, finally getting a core of players together to make a run falling apart.
You could argue that the Clippers actually dodged a bullet to an extent — Brand was certainly serviceable but never returned to his pre-torn Achilles abilities, and was really disappointing in Philly. And the disarray in the fallout of his departure eventually led to Blake Griffin’s selection in the NBA Draft and the start of the Clippers’ surge.
His exit left a sour taste, but averaging a double-double, being a two-time All-Star, an All-NBA Second Team selection and being the face of the franchise for seven seasons made Elton Brand one of the best to play for the Clippers. And that’s why he is the best to have worn No. 42 for the team.
Onto the news for Tuesday:
- Nuclear option on CBA put off: Over at ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski reports the league and NBPA have agreed to put off the league’s right to cancel the Collective Bargaining Agreement to September. This would seem to indicate both sides are truly hopeful they can get back to playing in the coming months, although the nuclear option is not fully off the table down the line.
- Barkley says restarting season “too dangerous”: Charles Barkley was on the Dan LeBatard Show on Monday and said he still does not believe the season should restart. He cited the dangers to service workers who would need to work with the NBA as well as the players themselves, calling it all “too dangerous.”
- Clippers 1-v-1 (bracket) tournament coming: Everybody loves brackets, heck, we’ve done some brackets ourselves here at Clips Nation. The Athletic is planning to do a player bracket of Clippers players of the past 30 years.
Attention Clipper fans and @TheAthleticLA subscribers: We're doing a 32-player, all-time 1-on-1 tournament from players from the 1990-91 to 2019-20 seasons. The players were chosen by the highest PPG average (min. 40 games) as a Clipper. (h/t @MikeVorkunov for the idea.)— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) May 12, 2020
- How Jordan made baseball cool: This week’s “The Last Dance”-adjacent revelation was that in context, Michael Jordan was quite good picking up in AA level having not played baseball in 15 years or more. This essay from The Undefeated discusses how MJ’s baseball career was so cool, for everyone and African American kids in particular.