5. Elton Brand (2001-2008)
We’ve had some good players on this list so far, but Elton Brand is the first guy who was truly great while he was actually on the Clippers.
Had Brand not torn his Achilles, only playing eight games in the 2007-2008 season, he probably would have been considered one of the premier big men of the 2000s. He was a furious scorer and violent rebounder for a number of very productive years.
On the mid-2000s Clippers rosters, Brand was a fixture of successful outings. He even averaged 25 a game in a blazing-hot 2005-2006 season. But he played an unreal 459 out of 574 possible games in seven seasons with the team, putting on tons of mileage.
Even before his injury, Brand’s production dropped significantly in ‘06-’07. The warning signs were there, but the Clippers failed to use him as an asset before the straw broke the camel’s back. After Brand’s borderline superstardom, it’s hard to blame them. Nevertheless, opting out of his deal and leaving for the 76ers for nothing stung a bit.
But 2006 was a super awesome year, with him achieving All-Star and All-NBA honors as well as MVP candidacy. Maybe it was a flash in the pan, but I have a soft spot for flash in the pan-Superstars. It would make a great book: “2017 Isaiah Thomas and 2006 Elton Brand: A Tale of Two Single-Year Supernovas.” I’ll workshop the title.