The starting five all-time draft busts for the LA Clippers

Chris Paul, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Paul, LA Clippers - Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
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LA Clippers draft bust center: Melvin Ely

With their second lottery pick in the 2002 NBA draft, the LA Clippers chose the star big man out of Fresno State, Melvin Ely. Initially, this pick was seen as the steal of the draft. Although Ely spent all four years in college, he was a polished center with the potential to dominate in his rookie season.

This was not the case, as Ely averaged 4.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 52 games during his rookie year. At this point, the front office was almost certain they had made the wrong decision by drafting Ely with the 12th overall pick. However, he still had a chance to prove himself in his sophomore year.

Furthermore, Ely disappointed once again by averaging 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds during his second season. What’s more, he shot 43.1% from the field as a center. These numbers are atrocious, giving the Clippers a variety of reasons as to why they need to move on.

Ely’s game was minimal, along with his inability to shoot the three-ball. As he was expected to be a dominant force in the paint, he lost his finishing ability and mobility on defense. These factors backed up why he couldn’t find his way at the professional level.

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Not to mention, the LA Clippers could have made several other choices that turned out to make the all-star teams, as well as other accomplishments. At first, it seemed impossible that a team could find a way to make two wrong selections in the same lottery. Still, the Clippers’ front office showed otherwise by drafting Ely and Chris Wilcox in 2002.