While the San Diego Clippers suffered during the mid-80s at the expense of other championship caliber franchises, Clipper fortune was changing towards the end of the decade. With the number overall pick in the 1988 draft, the Clippers selected Danny Manning, months removed from Kansas’ remarkable 1988 NCAA championship.
Manning’s career began slowly. He played only 26 games in his rookie year before missing the rest of the season with a knee injury. Fortunately (at the time) Clippers struggles manifested into the number 2 overall pick in the 1989 draft. Unfortunately the Clippers pick (Danny Ferry) opted to play in Italy instead of Los Angeles.
Ferry had privately voiced his discomfort with playing for the Clippers citing the team’s gluttony of forwards. Sean Elliot and Glen Rice went third and fourth in the 1989 draft. Tim Hardaway, Shawn Kemp, and Vlade Divac went 14,17, and 26th.