by Ralph Lawler
With the 2009 NBA Draft quickly approaching, "The Voice of the Clippers" Ralph Lawler takes a look back at his top five favorite draft picks (in chronological order) in Clippers history.
The Clippers won the 2009 Draft Lottery, moving up from the third-best chance to earn the top pick and the right to draft Blake Griffin, the national college player of the year from Oklahoma.
TOM CHAMBERS - No. 8 OVERALL PICK IN 1981
The San Diego Clippers drafted forward Tom Chambers out of Utah with the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 1981 Draft.
Chambers led San Diego in scoring during his Rookie season, averaging 17.2 points per game on 52.5% shooting. Chambers played two seasons in San Diego before he was traded to the Seattle Super Sonics in August,1983. In 1987, Chambers played in his first of four All-Star Games, and was named the game's MVP after scoring 34 points and going 2-for-3 from three-point range.
Chambers played in Seattle, Phoenix, Utah, Charlotte and Philadelphia before retiring in 1998.
TERRY CUMMINGS - No. 2 OVERALL PICK IN 1982
The San Diego Clippers drafted forward Terry Cummings out of DePaul with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 1982 Draft. You can think of him as a slightly smaller, less athletic version of Blake Griffin.
Cummings was named the NBA's Rookie of the Year and to the All-Rookie First Team after averaging 23.7 points and 10 rebounds per game in his first season. He would go on to become a two-time NBA All-Star in 1985 and 1989 for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Cummings played in Milwaukee, San Antonio, Seattle and New York before retiring in 1998.
DANNY MANNING - No. 1 OVERALL PICK IN 1988
The Los Angeles Clippers used their franchise's first No. 1 overall draft pick on forward Danny Manning from Kansas in the 1988 Draft.
A serious knee injury 26 games into his rookie season diminished his career, but he still became a two-time All-Star and averaged more than 19 points a game in his six seasons wearing a Clippers uniform. Manning led the team to the playoffs in 1992 and 1993 after being reunited with his college coach, Larry Brown.
Manning played in Atlanta, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Utah, Dallas and Detroit before retiring in 2003.
LAMAR ODOM - No. 4 OVERALL PICK IN 1999
The Los Angeles Clippers drafted forward Lamar Odom out of Rhode Island with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 1999 Draft.
Never an All-Star, but one of the gameís most versatile players through his 10 seasons in the league. Odom "christened" STAPLES Center by scoring 30 points in his first game as a pro in what was the first ever NBA game played in the building. In four years with the Clippers, he averaged almost 16 points a game.
During the summer of 2003, the free agent left Los Angeles for the Miami Heat. The following summer, Odom was part of a package deal with Caron Butler and Brian Grant that shipped him to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Shaquille O'Neal.
ERIC GORDON - No. 7 OVERALL PICK IN 2008
The Los Angeles Clippers drafted guard Eric Gordon out of Indiana with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2008 Draft.
It took a November trade of Cuttino Mobley and an injury to veteran Ricky Davis to get this 20-year-old prodigy his opportunity, but he really took advantage of it. Gordon emerged as the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for January, 2009 and never looked back, averaging 20 points a game through the seasonís final three and a half months. His future knows few bounds.
In his rookie season, Gordon participated in the NBA's Rookie-Sophomore Challenge and was named to the NBA's All-Rookie Second Team.
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