Seven players have rocked the No. 54 in franchise history. Dale Schlueter was the first to wear it back in 1975. The most recent was Patrick Patterson, who’s currently wearing it this year with the Clips.
There’s been some solid guys, but none better than Charles Smith, who was with the Clippers through the first four seasons of his career.
Smith was selected with the No. 3 overall pick by Philadelphia, but was traded to the Clippers. He had a great rookie campaign in Los Angeles, as he averaged more than 16 points a game. Smith also averaged 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 50 percent from the field.
He was named the Rookie of the Month in both February and April. During the month of February, Smith averaged 18.4 points and 8.2 rebounds a game. In April, he averaged more than 21 points a game while grabbing six boards.
Smith didn’t take home Rookie of the Year honors, but he was still named to the 1988-1989 All-Rookie team.
Over the next two seasons, Smith developed into one of the more underrated power forwards in the league. Over the course of 152 games, he averaged 20.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks a game. It was on December 1, 1990, in which Smith had his best game as a Clipper, and arguably the best game of his career.
In 37 minutes, Smith dropped 52 points, going 17-for-27 from the field. He also added six rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks. His damage came from the free-throw line, as he went 18-for-21 from the stripe. He’s in elite company, as he’s one of seven players to ever have 52 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks in a single game in NBA history.
Injuries would hurt Smith’s final season in Los Angeles. He’d play in only 49 games, starting in 25 of them. His numbers took a hit across the board, as he was playing 10 minutes fewer a night than in previous seasons. He averaged 14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and two blocks a game. Though his numbers were down, his PER/36 was actually right up there with what his numbers would’ve been had he been playing 36 minutes a night like the previous two years. His average was 19.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.
In September of 1992, Smith was traded to the New York Knicks as part of a three-team trade.
Smith finished his Clippers career with 4,994 points, 1,898 rebounds and 451 blocks. He’s one of six players in franchise history to have those numbers, joining DeAndre Jordan, Elton Brand, Bob McAdoo, Chris Kaman and Benoit Benjamin. Pretty good company to be in.