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LA Clippers' All-Time Worst Moves Made Under Donald Sterling's Ownership

Ehran KhanContributor IIIMay 25, 2012

LA Clippers' All-Time Worst Moves Made Under Donald Sterling's Ownership

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    Since moving to Southern California from Buffalo in 1978, the Clippers have been arguably the worst franchise in pro sports. 

    Over the past 34 years, the Clippers have had just four winning seasons, five trips to the playoffs and have never made it past the second round of the postseason.

    Much of the blame can be attributed to their racist, cheapskate owner Donald Sterling. Sterling has shown little to no interest in winning. His sole priority is to turn a profit, and there is no cost he won't cut in order to do so.

    The Clippers franchise has been rotten from the top down. Here are the six worst moves the team has made in the Donald Sterling era.

    Note: Thanks to this 2009 Bill Simmons column on ESPN.com to get the ball rolling on this one.

6. August 1983

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    After drafting Tom Chambers in 1981 and getting two promising seasons out of him, the Clippers decided to ship Chambers to Seattle for James Donaldson and a 1984 first-round pick.

    All Chambers did after that was make four All-Star teams—winning All-Star MVP honors in 1987—get selected to the All-NBA Second Team twice and score 27 points a game in a season.

    Meanwhile, Donaldson averaged 11 a game in a little over two seasons with the Clips. The first rounder in 1984 came in at No. 14 overall. The Clippers used that pick to select Michael Cage two picks before John Stockton went off the board.

5. June 1987

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    Somehow, the Clippers ended up with three first-round picks in the 1987 draft. 

    With their highest selection—No. 4 overall—they took Reggie Williams.

    Guys they didn't take? Let's make it a starting five in honor of the 2012 All-NBA teams being named this week.

    Guards: Kevin Johnson and Mark Jackson

    Forwards: Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller

    Center: Horace Grant

4. February 2011

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    In a move that has since been forgotten thanks to the Chris Paul trade, the Clippers made a 2011 trade deadline deal that sent Baron Davis and a 2011 first rounder to Cleveland for Mo Williams.

    Williams began the 2012 season as the third best point guard on the Clippers roster. Meanwhile, the pick they gift-wrapped to the Cavs turned out to be No. 1 overall Kyrie Irving, who was the NBA's Rookie of the Year in 2012.

    Had they not pulled the trigger on the deal, the Clippers could have built their team around a nucleus of Irving, Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe, and Al-Farouq Aminu. 

    Throw in another incoming lottery pick in the 2012 draft (courtesy of Minnesota), and the Clippers would have a core of seven talented players all aged 23 or younger. Imagine that.

    Or they could have had the pieces to swing not one but two trades for disgruntled superstars this past season. It will go down as one of the greatest "What Ifs" of this decade.

3. June 1996

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    In a loaded 1996 draft, the Clippers missed out on the top six surefire stars being stuck with the No. 7 overall pick. They used that pick on Lorenzen Wright.

    Had the Clips gone in a different direction, they could have selected Kobe Bryant (went 13th overall), Peja Stojakovic (14th), Steve Nash (15th), Jermaine O'Neal (17th) or Zydrunas Ilgauskas (20th). Ouch.

2. June 1995

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    The Clippers got lucky in 1995, landing the No. 2 overall pick in a draft with big-time stars at the top. They got even luckier when Golden State drafted the one non-future-All-Star in the top five in Joe Smith.

    However, L.A.'s luck ended there, and bad decision-making took over. The Clips selected Antonio McDyess second overall. The next three picks were Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett.

    Things may have turned out fine had the Clippers just rolled with McDyess, but before he ever played a single game for the Clips, he was traded along with a couple of other pieces to Denver for Rodney Rodgers, Brian Williams and Brent Barry.

1. June 1998

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    No one knows how to mess up on draft night better than the Clippers. After two major whiffs in 1995 and 1996, the Clips managed to top their own apathy in 1998, when they finally won the draft lottery and held the No. 1 overall pick in a star-studded draft.

    The Clippers had their pick of Mike Bibby, Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki or Paul Pierce to name a few.

    Instead, they decided to go with 23-year-old center Michael Olowokandi who had one good year at the University of the Pacific under his belt.

    The Kandi-man turned out to be arguably the worst No. 1 overall selection of all time. (When you factor in draft class and injuries notwithstanding. Shoot, I might still take Greg Oden over Olowokandi.)

    Despite being a legit seven-footer, his career field goal percentage sits below 44 percent and he never grabbed 10 rebounds per game in any season, even when he played a crazy 38 minutes a game in 2003.

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