LA Clippers: Kobe Bryant workout with Clips shows what could have been

Over the weekend, tape from Kobe Bryant‘s pre-draft video with the LA Clippers went viral.

Typical of Bryant, he showcased a lot in even just this footage from the workout. He nailed threes with both his right hand and his left hand, he showed off his hesitation move, and showed how explosive of a finisher he always was. Doing this all without playing college ball of course made him a very intriguing prospect.

Bryant had some off-court issues during his time in the NBA. If we’re talking about his impact specifically on the basketball court, things definitely would have been much different for the franchise if the Clips had selected him with the No. 7 overall pick of the 1996 NBA Draft.

The LA Clippers selected Lorenzen Wright with the seventh overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft over Kobe Bryant.

Lorenzen Wright was disappointing for the LA Clippers, and was out of LA after just three seasons. Kobe Bryant, of course, went on to be a consensus top ten player in basketball history.

Wright averaged 7.7 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, and shot 46.1% from the field as a center. He went off to the Atlanta Hawks for two seasons after he was done with the Clippers, and was a little better towards the end of his tenure there. He tried to build off of that momentum in Memphis, and did for a little while but fell back down to earth after his first two years there.

After five seasons in Memphis, he spent the next three years as a journeyman in the league. By the time he played his last basketball game in the 2008-2009 season, Bryant had won three NBA Championships in this league, and for one of them he was the best player on his team.

He went on to win two more, with him leading the charge on both of those as well.

It’s intriguing in particular because Bryant had reportedly been interested in forcing a trade to the Clippers when he was rumored to be frustrated with the Lakers’ supposed preference of Shaquille O’Neal. The Clips could have bounced back from their mistake of not drafting him, but O’Neal ended up being traded, and not Kobe.

The dynamic of LA basketball history would certainly be very altered if Bryant were drafted as a Clipper. They had a disappointing pick in general in 1996, and it’s another example of the Clippers having a tough time in general when it comes to their draft history.