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Los Angeles Clippers

Jamie Resin is the GM for the Clippers.  Jamie selects

Crish Bosh, PF, 6'10" Georgia Tech

I. Season Re-Cap

2002-03 Record: 27-55 (.329). This was supposed to be the year when it all came together. Last season's "just missed" 39-43 record was followed by the trade for Andre Miller, the supposed "missing piece" that would harness the team's young talent, and steer the Clipper ship into the playoffs. However, rather than taking the next step into the postseason, the team took a giant step backwards as a confluence of factors combined to plague the woeful franchise, which ended the year with the 5th worst record in the league, a full 12 games worse than last season's squad.

Following the 2001-02 season, Clipper ownership had the opportunity to make a statement to its players, coaching and fans about its desire to compete. With an option on Michael Olowokandi, and Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Andre Miller and Corey Maggette entering the final season of their rookie contracts, all eyes were on Donald Sterling to see if he would commit to keep his young stars together by paying the going market rate. Instead, Clip management opted to exercise their one-year option on Olowokandi, and didn't so much as mutter the word extension in the general direction of any of their other core players.

Injuries plagued the Clippers, as Olowokandi spent over half of the season on the injured list, and Odom, Brand, Maggette, and Quentin Richardson each missed over a quarter of the year. How eager they were to get back onto the court is anybody's guess. The Andre Miller-Darius Miles trade, which seemed like a good idea at the time, turned out to be a poor one for both the Clippers and the Cavs, as neither player adjusted well to his new home.

II. Positional Anlysis

Point Guard

After three stellar seasons for the Cleveland Cavaliers, including an NBA-best 10.9 assists in 2001-02, Andre Miller returned to his home city of Los Angeles, expected to provide the maturity and leadership at the point that the team lacked with Jeff McInnis running the show. Despite a poor showing at the World Championships in Indianapolis, Clipper players and fans were excited to welcome their new floor leader, after paying the high price of fan favorite Darius Miles. Miller failed to live up to the high hopes, as his apg dropped to 6.7, his worst since his rookie season, while his FG percentage dropped to a career worst .406. Miller struggled through a season of personal loss and nagging injuries, and appeared a bit like a square peg in a round hole running the up-tempo Clipper offense, after playing a methodical style in Cleveland. If history is a guide, Clipper brass is likely to pick up Miller's option, let him play out the season, and watch him depart as a free agent. Since the Cavs were unwilling to give Miller the max contract that he demanded, there is no reason to think that the Clippers will open the checkbook, either. Backing up Miller is the disappointing Keyon Dooling, who has never met the team's high expectations, after being acquired with the #10th pick in the 2000 draft following a trade with Orlando. Despite his athletic ability, Dooling has been plagued by injury and never shown the ability to compete at the NBA level during his time on the floor. Marko Jaric joined the team as a rookie after continuing his career in Europe following his 2nd round selection (#30) in 2000. Although touted as a point guard, Jaric played more like a Sarunas Marciulionis-type swingman.. His defensive savvy (NBA best 3.38 steals per 48 mins) was a welcome addition. He is signed through 2006 and should contribute backcourt depth. The offseason departure of Earl Boykins was felt more than expected, as he provided a spark for the Warriors while the Clippers had match up problems with ultra quick guards.

Shooting Guard

Quentin Richardson finished third in the NBA's sixth man of the year award voting in 2001-02, scoring 13.3 ppg and appearing in 81 games, all off the bench. He came into 2002-03 with the starting job in hand and seemed poised for stardom. Instead of stardom, Richardson spent the season coping with the loss of his closest friend Darius Miles, suffered from nagging knee and ankle injuries, missed 23 games, started only 13, and saw his stats drop off in nearly every category. The expected return to form for Richardson is critical to the Clippers resurgence in 2003-04. Eric Piatkowski continued his steady, unspectacular play for the Clippers, averaging 9.7ppg and .398 from 3-pt land. His shooting ability makes him a worthwhile reserve, but leaves the Clippers weak on defense on the wing when he is asked to play starter's minutes. He is a free agent, but is likely to return.

Small Forward

Lamar Odom could have owned Los Angeles. After marvelous rookie and sophomore seasons, Lamar's game has gone backwards. Injuries, a lack of intensity and drive, and an affinity for marijuana have been a poor recipe for success. He has played in only 78 games over the past 2 seasons combined, after playing 76 in each of his first 2 seasons. Odom's talent, which made him the #4 overall pick in the 1999 draft, is on par with that of former Clipper star Danny Manning in his prime. As Odom enters the option year on his contract, the question is whether Lamar will ever fulfill his potential and blossom into the All-Star he could be. Like Richardson, Odom needs to shine in 2003-04 in order to make the Clippers competitive. Corey Maggette's play was a bright spot for the Clippers. The void left by the frequent absences of Odom and Richardson enabled Maggette to start a career high 57 games, racking up career bests in scoring (16.8 ppg) and rebounding (5.0 rpg). He also gave the Clippers solid defense on the wing, holding Kobe Bryant to a 11-for-26 shooting night, snapping his 9 game 40 point streak. Corey missed 18 games due to various injuries, but gave the team a spark on the floor, getting to the line a team-high 405 times, converting over 80%. He thrives when the team plays up tempo, but still can get lost in the half-court game. Tremaine Fowlkes provides backup minutes, and starts when all others are on the IR, but does nothing particularly well.

Power Forward

Elton Brand is the Clippers rock and foundation. so why they have not even offered him a multi-year contract extension is beyond me. He has averaged over 18 points and 10 rebounds in each of his 4 NBA seasons, and last season was 2nd in the league in offensive rebounds and was 4th in double-doubles, despite missing 20 games to an injured calf and stress fracture in his lower leg. He represented the Clippers in the All-Star game, making the first Clipper appearance since 1994 (Danny Manning). Despite the fact that the team had been eliminated from the playoff hunt, Brand returned to finish the season, showing his leadership and determination. Unfortunately for Brand, he plays power forward in the Western Conference, where he is arguably the 7th best player at his position. Unlike many of the other star 4-men in the West (Duncan, Garnett, Nowitzki, Webber, Malone, Wallace), he does not have a go-to move in crunch time and thus has more difficulty carrying his team on his broad shoulders. He would be an ideal complement to Odom, however, if Lamar were to get his act together. Brand's agent has intimated that he will play out the year, and then leave as a free agent. Money will talk, and the Clippers money has been notoriously quiet. The Clippers surprised many by selecting Chris Wilcox (#8) and Melvin Ely (#12) in the 2002 draft, stockpiling power forwards. Caron Butler (#10 to the Heat) was much more NBA-ready and would have been a superior selection, despite Wilcox's athletic gifts and "upside." Chris started 3 games for the Clippers and showed flashes of athletic ability but raw game. Ely started 7 games for the Clippers, playing at both the PF and C positions, and showed journeyman-type ability.


After playing in 80 games in each of the previous 3 seasons, Michael Olowokandi had a forgettable year, playing in only 36, while battling thigh and knee problems, which resulted in season-ending surgery. While he was on the floor, the Kandi Man recorded a career high 12.3 ppg and 9.1 rpg, but shot only 42.7% from the floor, poor for a 7-footer. During Coach Gentry's tenure, the Clippers O revolved around throwing the ball into the Kandi Man, and letting everyone else stand around. His inability to pass effectively (career high 1.3 apg), made the halfcourt offense stagnant. Kandi has expressed an interest in playing elsewhere, and as an unrestricted free agent, it seems unlikely that he'll be back. In the absence of Olowokandi, the Clippers used a center by committee of Sean Rooks (38 starts, 4.2 ppg) Cherokee Parks (18 unmemorable starts), Ely, and Wang Zhizhi. If Olowokandi departs, as expected, the Clippers will be woefully undermanned in the pivot. If the Clippers fail to address this gaping hole, as expected, they Melvin Ely is likely to start at Center when the 2003-04 season tips off.


During the past few seasons, Elgin Baylor has done a respectable, if unspectacular job drafting and trading for young talent. The unwillingness of ownership to resign players or bid for free agents or top flight coaching talent, has continued to keep this franchise mired at the bottom of the league. Coach Alvin Gentry took the fall for the latest Clipper disappointment and was replaced by Dennis Johnson, who continues to wear the interim tag. At this time, the rumor mill has the Clippers talking with Rick Carlisle. I predict that Carlisle will pass on the job, after the Clippers make him a lowball offer, and elect to remove the interim tag from Dennis Johnson, keeping the inexpensive option.

III. Draft History

  • 2002 - Chris Wilcox, Maryland So. (8); Melvin Ely, Fresno State Sr. (12); Mario Kasun, Gonzaga (41)
  • 2001 - Tyson Chandler, Dominguez HS Sr. (2)
  • 2000 - Darius Miles, Lincoln HS Sr.(3); Quentin Richardson, Depaul (18); Marco Jaric, (30)
  • 1999 - Lamar Odom, Rhode Island (4); Rico Hill, Illinois State (31)
  • 1998 - Michael Olowokandi, Pacific (1); Brian Skinner, Baylor (22)
  • 1997 - Maurice Taylor, Michigan (14);

IV. Team Needs

Most urgent need is likely to need a Center after Olowokandi departs, as expected. An up-tempo point guard would be a possibility if the Clippers were not committed to resigning Andre Miller following the season. The team' s only position of strength and depth is at forward, which means that the logical selection is.

V. My Selection

Chris Bosh, PF, Georgia Tech.

This is a typical Clipper pick. They need help everywhere expect at power forward, so what do they do. they draft a power forward. Despite the lack of fit for the Clippers, Bosh happens to be the best value on the draft board, by far. If the Clippers play their cards right, they will make this selection and trade Bosh to add a veteran and an additional selection, if possible. Bosh has a Kevin Garnett-like frame and run/jump athletic ability. Tremendous upside, but immature physically at this point. Will pay off for a team in his 3rd or 4th season. By then, he would be preparing to leave the Clippers as a free agent. Similar to Chris Wilcox, whom the Clippers selected last season. Not an area of need, but too good to pass up and preferable to the alternative of reaching for a less talented player in an attempt to fill a slot on the floor.

VI. Other Players Considered

Chris Kaman, C, Central Michigan

Kaman is an athletic 7-footer, who can run the floor, shoot the rock, finish, rebound, and block shots. He lacks upper body strength, and will get pushed around until he gets some work done in the weight room. His 22/12/3 last season was no fluke - shot 62% from the floor and 75% from the line. Dropped 25/10 on Duke in the NCAA tournament, so he wasn't just padding stats vs. cupcake competition. He will be a credible NBA center, and would be a worthwhile selection to replace the departing Olowokandi.

Dwyane Wade, PG/SG, Marquette

Extremely athletic combo guard. A tweener, but very explosive, solid wing defender, excellent rebounder for his size. Drives the lane like a madman, but his shooting range is suspect. Lack of size could create matchup problems on D, and lack of pure ball handling ability makes the ability to handle the point questionable.

Jarvis Hayes, SG/SF, Georgia

Excellent scorer, who would provide insurance against Richardson's inability to bounce back from injury and potential departure of Piatkowski as a free agent. Great ability to get open and get shots off in college, but will be challenged in the NBA, as Hayes does not thrive putting the ball on the floor. Not adept at sharing the ball.

Maclej Lampe, F, Poland

If there is a "next Dirk Nowitzki" in this year's draft, it's Lampe. At only 17 years old, he has great combination of shooting, ball handling and athletic ability. His weakness is that he is young, needs strength, toughness and work on his defense and rebounding. He is much like the Nuggets Nicoloz Tskitishvili (#5 overall in 2002), who showed ability, but will take a number of years to flourish.

VI. Who Team Will Probably Take

It is my guess that Bosh will be gone, and T.J. Ford will be available when the Clippers select at #6, and that he will be the Clippers selection. It was their misfortune to be not quite awful enough to get one of the top 3 selections. There is quite a drop off by pick #6. Chris Kaman would be a logical selection, as the best pure center available and a capable replacement for Olowokandi, but the Clippers rarely make logical selections. I had also guessed that Pavel Podkolzin would be a consideration at this point in the draft, but had already been taken off the board. It is difficult to assess his ability, but he would be intriguing to consider.

VII. Other Off-Season Moves Team Should Make

Writing this section is almost a joke. There are so many things that the Clippers should do, but it is the same list every year, and they never do any of them. Nonetheless, here goes: 1) Hire an experienced coach. I would most prefer to see Rick Carlisle, who did a tremendous job in Detroit, and was the NBA's best assistant, while coaching with Larry Bird in Indiana. 2) Sign Elton Brand to a long-term extension. There are plenty of other players who need to be signed, including Olowokandi, for whom the team has no replacement, Maggette, and Odom. But, the critical player to bring back is Brand. Letting him depart as a free agent would be demoralizing to a franchise that has very little morale to begin with. 3) Pursue veteran free agents on the open market - this is the most ridiculous notion, since the Clippers have virtually never spent money to bring in a notable free agent. Nonetheless, there are a number of potentially good fits, including Brad Miller or Jermaine O'Neal to play center. Even Elden Campbell would be worth considering. Gilbert Arenas would be a tremendous addition in the backcourt and since he's an L.A. native, perhaps he'd consider taking the Clippers money. Gary Payton would be a great veteran addition, but a total pipe dream.