Improving Brand’s Image

If the BoxScores methodology and the Scorer-Perimeter-Interior playing style trichotomy is new to you, you can read about them here and here.

For the latest in my series of BoxScore team histories, this week we turn to the LA Clippers–a storied franchise whose latest chapters have not been the most gripping. First things first, though, check out 38 illustrious seasons of Clippers franchise history:

Clippers Franchise History

The first thing to attend to upon first appraisal is just how productive Elton Brand is. Perhaps it is because he is oft-injured, but it seems as though Brand gets very little attention from the national sports media. Given the mostly mediocre level of talent with which he is surrounded, his productivity is impressive. Though Chris Kaman and Maggette are solid players, Brand has been adding 8-12 wins in his healthier seasons. Especially as Thornton develops in to a more well-rounded and more productive player (his very pink color in the graphic indicates that his rookie season focused much more on shooting than anything else), a healthy Elton Brand poises the Clippers for a return to the form of 2005-06. Though you would not know it from the amount of media coverage he receives, Brand is 29th among active players in BoxScores per 82 games, and his 05-06 was the second most productive season in Clippers history. One has to go back to Bob McAdoo in 1974-75 to find a more valuable Clippers season.

Other observations that stand out from a cursory overview of this graphical Clippers history: Interesting how Danny Manning went from a pretty well-rounded game, with somewhat of a passing/stealing bent (1990, 91, 92–note his fairly neutral greenish color, not that unlike Quinton Ross this past season), to focusing much more on scoring (1993 especially, his pinkish hue is much more like Quentin Richardson’s style). Is Manning’s transformation from Quinton-like to Quentin-like entirely a function of Mark Jackson’s strong season of perimeter play? I find it interesting to see how player’s styles evolve over the years, not only as they age, but in response to what their team needs for them to do.

Please let me know in the comments this portrayal of Clippers history meshes with your more subjective memories of it. Are the players ranked correctly within seasons? (e.g. in 2008, was Maggette more valuable in terms of wins than Kaman, followed by Mobley, Thornton, and Thomas?) Was Brand’s best year really 2005-06? What do you pick up by looking at the colors that I might have missed?

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