CLIPPERS HISTORY ARCHIVE
1986-87 SEASON
by Ralph Lawler



Change was the by-word in the off-season going into the 1986-87 campaign. Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor replaced Carl Scheer as General Manager in April of 1986. His first act was to retain Don Chaney as head coach. His busy summer saw him send injured star Derek Smith to Sacramento in exchange for Larry Drew, Mike Woodson and a future first round draft pick. The addition of Drew was critical because star point guard Norm Nixon tore up his left knee while playing in a softball game at Central Park in New York in July. Subsequent surgery would end his season before it began.

Still a season of hope opened on October 31st with a one-point loss at Sacramento where the Kings debuted following their transplant from Kansas City. Through six games the Clippers were an indecisive 3-and-3. Unbelievably, ten games into the season the team lost its leading scorer to another quirky injury. All-star Marques Johnson ran head-first into Benoit Benjamin’s ample mid-section in a game against the Indiana Pacers. He suffered a ruptured cervical disc in his neck and his season was over.

For the second straight year the Clippers had lost their leading scorer a scant ten games into the season. What followed wasn’t pretty. The Clippers lost 28 of 29 games played between November 13 and January 12. In the course of 12 months the team had seen Derek Smith, Norm Nixon and Marquess Johnson all go down to what were essentially career-ending injuries. I’ve never seen anything like it - before or since.

The new GM saw the writing on the wall. Having already stock-piled an added first round pick in the deal for Derek Smith, Elgin went for more picks with mid-season trades that saw Cedric Maxwell go to Houston for a future #1 and a #2, and then two weeks later he dispatched Kurt Nimphius to Detroit for first and second round picks in 1987. His cupboard was now filled with five extra picks in the '87 and '88 drafts.

Not surprisingly, the 12-win season spelled the end of Don Chaney’s coaching tenure with the Clippers. The search was on for a veteran NBA head coach.

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


1986-87 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
Mike Woodson7421264941130.43734123.276240290.8286894162196201110016816126217.1
Marques Johnson1030268155.43906.0003042.71492433282401217516616.6
Michael Cage802922457878.52103.000341467.73035456892213122119917167125515.7
Cedric Maxwell351132150289.51900---177228.77610314825112210212688947713.6
Larry Drew601566295683.4321272.167139166.8372677103326107060151274112.4
Benoit Benjamin722230320713.44902.000188263.71513445258613525176018418782811.5
Darnell Valentine651759275671.4101356.232163200.8153811215044714831161671072611.2
Quintin Dailey49924200491.407110.100119155.7683449837911344371852010.6
Rory White681545265552.48003.00094144.653901041947915914773196249.2
Kenny Fields (LAC)44861153344.445312.2507289.80963831466012023152113818.7
Kenny Fields (TOT)48883159352.452312.2507394.77763851486112323253113948.2
Kurt Nimphius38811119252.47203.0005788.64858751331811811647412957.8
Earl Cureton (LAC)35868114234.48701.0004379.54499126225528601835302717.7
Earl Cureton (TOT)781973243510.47602.00082152.53921224045212218823380565687.3
Lancaster Gordon701130221545.4061448.2927095.7376462126139106161102135267.5
Geoff Huston1942855121.45512.5001834.52961117101280144501296.8
Tim Kempton6693697206.47101.00095137.693701241945316263849122894.4
Steffond Johnson292342764.42203.0002038.52615284355529182742.6
Dwayne Polee1614.25003.00000---00003011022.0


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