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No. 81: Greatest Clippers of All-Time: Elmore Smith

Dominated while in Buffalo

Elmore Smith

Time with Clippers: 1971-1973

Stats: 17.8 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 2.0 APG, 154 G, 39.1 MPG, 46.8 FG%

Win Shares: 5.4


We go all the way back to the early 70’s, back when the Clippers were known as the Buffalo Braves. Let’s take a look at Elmore Smith, a dominant seven-foot tall big man who dominated during his first two seasons of his career in Buffalo. He was drafted by the Braves with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1971 NBA Draft.

Smith appeared in 154 games for the Braves, averaging nearly 18 points and 14 rebounds a game. Granted, he did play about 40 minutes a night, but that is still some really solid production.

During his rookie season, Smith scored at least 20 points 26 different times. He had at least 10 rebounds in 33 games, and came down with at least 15 rebounds in 18 games. There were four games in which Smith had at least 20 points AND 20 rebounds.

I should mention that on Basketball Reference, they only tracked his rebounds for 35 of the 78 games he played. So all those crazy numbers I just mentioned were over the course of only 35 games!

He scored at least 20 points in 34 games the next season with Buffalo. More games with rebounds were tracked, as they have 59 of his 76 games. He had 41 games with at least 10 boards and 23 games with at least 15 rebounds. He had six known games that season of 20/20.

In September of 1973, Smith was traded by the Buffalo Braves to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jim McMillian.


Get caught up on the full list of the 100 greatest players in Clippers history