CLIPPERS HISTORY ARCHIVE
1985-86 SEASON
by Ralph Lawler



The 1985-86 season opened with great promise. General Manager Carl Scheer had traded away the oft-injured Bill Walton to Boston in exchange for the reliable and colorful Cedric Maxwell and a 1986 first round draft pick. The drafting of massive center Benoit Benjamin made the move of Walton possible.

Big Ben was 7-0 and 250 pounds. He’d averaged 21 points – 14 rebounds and 5 blocked shots a game at Creighton U. Scheer took him with the third over-all pick in the June draft. Coupled with the 7-2 veteran James Donaldson, the Clippers were set at the center position.

As Don Chaney began his first full season at the coaching helm, training camp opened with a burst of hope and optimism. What a start that team had. They raced out of the gate with five straight wins. They averaged 116 points a game during that perfect start.

Derek Smith was one of the league’s top three scorers. He was drawing comparisons to a young Chicago Bull phenom named Michael Jordan. Smith, Marques Johnson and Norm Nixon formed an awesome 1-2-3 scoring punch.

Sadly the season of such high hopes crashed and burned within 10 days of that hopeful start. Derek Smith went down with a career-numbing knee injury. He’d play only two more games that season, and they’d be his final games in a Clippers uniform.

Smith went from super-stardom to journeyman in one seemingly innoucuous twist of the knee. It was a twist of fate that dashed the hopes of this season of such promise.

The final tally showed 32 wins and 50 losses, good enough for a tie for third in the competitive Pacific Division.

Marquess Johnson earned the NBA Comeback Player of the Year award while playing in his fifth All-Star game. When Smith got hurt, Coach Chaney moved Johnson into the backcourt and he over powered smaller guards all season long.

Vets Johnson and Nixon along with young Benoit Benjamin still gave fans reasons to believe in the future.

RECORD
32-50
Home 22-19, Road 10-31
3rd place (tie), Pacific Division

PLAYOFFS
None
CLIPPERS LEADERS
Scoring: Johnson (20.3)
Rebounding: Maxwell (8.2)
Assists: Nixon (8.6)

HONORS
Benoit Benjamin: Rookie of the Month (3/86)
Marques Johnson: 1986 All-Star Game
Derek Smith: Player of the Week (11/3/85)
HEAD COACH
Don Chaney

ASSISTANT COACHES
Don Casey
Brad Greenberg

ATHLETIC TRAINER
Mike Shimensky


1985-86 CLIPPERS PLAYER AVERAGES
REBOUNDS
PLAYER G MIN FGM FGA FG% 3GM 3GA 3G% FTM FTA FT% OFF DEF TOT AST PF DQ STL TO BLK PTS AVG
Derek Smith11339100181.55212.5005884.690202141313529331325923.5
Marques Johnson7526056131201.510115.067298392.760156260416283214210718350152520.3
Norm Nixon672138403921.43842121.347131162.80945135180576143084190397914.6
Cedric Maxwell762458314661.47503.000447562.79524138362421525226120629107514.1
Kurt Nimphius (LAC)671946314622.50502.000177233.760129264393482297301079380512.0
Kurt Nimphius (TOT)802226351694.50602.000194262.7401523014536226783312010589611.2
Rory White751761355684.51919.111164222.73982991817416127495887511.7
Benoit Benjamin792088324661.49013.333229307.7461614396007928656414520687811.1
James Donaldson144414384.51200---5770.81428103131123305382914310.2
Franklin Edwards731491262577.45419.111132151.8742462862598708913746579.0
Junior Bridgeman581161199451.441618.333106119.8912994123108811316885108.8
Michael Cage781566204426.47903.000113174.64916824941781176162106345216.7
Darnell Valentine (LAC)3448369182.379311.2725975.787124153107450235712005.9
Darnell Valentine (TOT)621217161388.415414.286130175.743329312524612307211524567.4
Jamaal Wilkes131952665.40013.3332227.815131629151907162755.8
Lancaster Gordon60704130345.377728.2504556.804244468609113362103125.2
Jay Murphy141001645.35602.000914.64378153120453412.9
Jim Thomas669615.40000---12.50035812120591132.2
Wallace Bryant (LAC)864418.22200---58.625812204120223131.6
Wallace Bryant (TOT)172181548.31300---1119.57917365315382595412.4
Jeff Cross21128624.25000---1425.560921301380263261.2
Ozell Jones31802.00000---00---02205023100.0


Clippers Season Recaps »