Los Angeles Clippers: Top 5 Small Forwards of All-Time

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No. 3: Marques Johnson

Marques Johnson may have had his best years with the Milwaukee Bucks (as you can see in the video above), but he also turned in some great seasons with the Clippers. It’s his impressive scoring ability and production that have earned him 3rd place on this list, rather than a long career with the franchise — even though it would have been nice if he stuck around a little longer.

After seven years in Milwaukee, averaging 21 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, Johnson joined the Clippers in a trade that sent Terry Cummings, Craig Hodges and Ricky Pierce to the Bucks. Although, despite four All-Star appearances and recording five seasons averaging 20+ points per game, Marques Johnson is a player that few probably remember.

Yet even though his time in L.A. was brief, he’s still one of the best small forwards to ever play for the Clippers.

As three point shooting wasn’t as expected from every wing player in the 1980s, Johnson instead operated as a scorer from mid-range and in the paint. His ability to manoeuvre around opponents when driving to the basket and finish through contact allowed him to score with excellent efficiency at the rim, not to mention he could even post-up from time to time as well.

In his first season with the Clippers in 1984, Johnson averaged 16.4 points on 45.2 percent shooting, 5.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. That still wasn’t impressive compared to his second season with the Clips, though. In 1985-86, Johnson became an All-Star for the fifth time, whilst shooting 51 percent from the floor and averaging 20.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.

Numbers aside, Johnson was both aggressive and creative when attacking the basket, and had the versatility to post-up, rebound and pass to make him a threat in multiple aspects of the game. As a result of his stellar scoring ability, Marques Johnson finished his career with the Clippers with an average of 18.3 points per game and a player efficiency rating of 20.1.

Sadly Johnson suffered a neck injury during the 1986-87 season with L.A., which put him out the league for two years and virtually ended his career, despite his return for 10 games with the Golden State Warriors in 1989. Nothing can detract from the talent he showcased prior to his injury, though.

Next: Ken Norman