CLIPPERS DRAFT HISTORY: FIRST PICK Selections: Danny Manning (1988), Michael Olowokandi (1998)
Danny Manning, University of Kansas by Seth Burton
In 1988, on the heels of a 17-65 season, the Clippers won their fourth-ever NBA Lottery and earned the right to select University of Kansas superstar Danny Manning with the number one overall pick. Manning, who won the 1988 NCAA Championship with the Jayhawks and averaged 24.8 points and 9.0 rebounds as a senior at Kansas, was the consensus college player of the year and joined a Clippers team desperate for his unique offensive capabilities.
Manning wasted no time showing the NBA that he belonged, averaging 16.7 points and 6.6 rebounds in the first 26 games of the season. Unfortunately, Manning suffered a season-ending knee injury on Januray 4, 1989, tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament. Manning missed the first 11 games of his second NBA season due to the knee injury before appearing in 71 games for the Clippers his sophomore season, averaging 16.3 points and 5.9 rebounds.
Manning continued to develop for the Clippers and enjoyed a break-through season in 1991-92 when he started in all 82 games for L.A., averaging 19.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists. In the 1992-93 season, Manning became the first Clipper since Marques Johnson in 1986 to make the All-Star team, as he led the Clippers in scoring with a 22.8 scoring average while grabbing 6.6 rebounds. Manning made his second consecutive trip to the All-Star game in 1993-94 for the Clippers, averaging 23.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 42 games in L.A.
Manning was traded to Atlanta on February 24, 1994 in exchange for NBA legend Dominique Wilkins and a 1994 or 1995 conditional first-round draft choice. Manning left the Clippers as the franchise's all-time leading scorer with 7,120 career points.
Manning played eight more seasons in the NBA, appearing for the Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.
Michael Olowokandi, University of the Pacific by Seth Burton
The Clippers made the 7'0" center from the University of the Pacific their second-ever number one overall draft selection in 1998. Olowokandi, who first started playing organized basketball when he was 17, put in a dominant performance his senior year of college, leading the University of the Pacific into the NCAA Tournament.
As a rookie, Olowokandi played in 45 games in the 50 game strike-shortened 1998-99 season and led the Clippers in rebounding by averaging 7.9 boards per game along with 8.9 points. Olowokandi, known as the “Kandiman”, played a total of five seasons for the Clippers, having his best year in 2001-02 when he played in 80 games and averaged 11.1 points and 8.8 rebounds. Olowokandi scored a career-high 12.3 points per game in 36 during the 2002-03 season.
Olowokandi left the Clippers following the 2002-03 season, signing as a free agent with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Olowokandi played three seasons in Minnesota before being traded to Boston in 2006, where he finished his career by playing in 24 games for the Celtics during the 2006-07 season.
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