Remembering Dominique Wilkins’ time with the Clippers


Mar 13, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; NBA Hall Of Fame inductee and former Atlanta Hawks player Dominique Wilkins attends the game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Dominique Wilkins is one of the top small forwards in NBA history and one of the most terrifying dunkers the league has ever seen. When looking back at his career, he’s obviously remembered as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, after playing 12 seasons with the team and never spending more than one year with any other franchise. However, what many people may have forgotten is that Wilkins actually delivered 25 stellar performances for the Los Angeles Clippers late in the 1993-94 season.

It may have only been just over quarter of a season, but a player as great as Dominique Wilkins is always worth remembering. Plus, for a team that struggled for as long as the Clippers, he’s easily one of the top few players to ever represent them — even if it wasn’t for as long as Clips fans would have liked.

To bring an end to his career with the Hawks, Wilkins (who was 34 at the time) was traded on February 24th 1994 to the Clippers, along with a first round draft pick in exchange for All-Star big man Danny Manning. So, with the season approaching its end, Wilkins got to work in L.A. in the best way he knew how: scoring a lot of points and dunking with authority.

He began his time with the Clippers in typical Nique fashion, by dropping 34 points on 52.4 percent shooting to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Not a bad start to give L.A. exactly what they were hoping for.

His dunks were always electrifying and he had the explosiveness to jump over anyone, yet his skill and range on offense was somewhat underrated. He may have only made 0.7 threes per game on 31.9 shooting from deep through his career, but inside the arc, Wilkins had more ability to bury a mid-range shot or sink a turn-around jumper in the post than some might give him credit for.

Wilkins didn’t slow down after his debut with the Clippers, though. The big performances continued until he left the team prior to the next season when he signed with the Boston Celtics.

Just as the Clippers saw a star leave with the departure of Danny Manning in the trade with the Hawks, they had to face Wilkins’ swift exit, too.

Dominique scored 30+ points in 13 of his 25 games with the Clippers, finishing his tenure with the franchise with an average of 29.1 points on 45.3 percent shooting in 37.9 minutes per game. On top of that, Wilkins added 7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game. So, when combining all that together, his speed and ferocious finishing in transition, shooting, rebounding, perimeter defense and all around athleticism gave the Clippers the kind of Hall of Fame talent that they rarely had in their history.

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Wilkins used his physical attributes and finishing ability to average 24.8 points per game for his entire career, whilst racking up a grand total of 26,668 points to rank 12th of all-time on the NBA scoring list.

If only he could have spent a few more years helping them instead of going to Boston.

However, the Clippers still struggled despite Wilkins’ arrival. They lost 12 of their last 15 games that season to finish with another disappointing record of 27 wins and an embarrassing 55 losses. The Human Highlight Reel delivered in the little time he had, but it still wasn’t enough to carry the entire team.

Regardless of the fact he played a mere 25 games for the Clippers, though, Dominique Wilkins is still one of the best players to ever represent the team. He’s the 12th best scorer in history for a reason, and his average of 29.1 points a night and flurry of 30 point games is worth remembering.

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